Skip to main content

UNECE adopts three new Regulations to improve the safety and environmental performance of motor vehicles

The World Forum for Harmonization of Vehicle Regulations (WP.29) adopted in the last two days three new Regulations.

1.  A new global technical regulation (UN GTR – 1998 Agreement) adopted on 13 November will significantly improve the safety of motor vehicles’ occupants in the event of an impact against pole size objects (i.e. telegraph poles, signposts and trees, cf. image).

The UN GTR introduces requirements on lateral crash tests simulating this type of accident before vehicles are put on the market. It is expected that manufacturers will react by, amongst others, installing wider side airbags in order to increase passenger safety.

This new UN GTR, the first harmonized, international vehicle safety legislation addressing this issue, introduces improvements in the protection of drivers’ and passengers’ heads. It will complement UN Regulation No. 95 dealing with car to car lateral collision, by addressing brain and spinal cord injuries more directly.

It has the potential to prevent a high number of fatalities and serious injuries occurring in pole side impacts worldwide. In the nine countries for which data is available (Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Great Britain, Japan, Netherlands, Republic of Korea and United States) more than 10,000 people died in pole or other side impacts in 2009. In the same year, around the same number of people was severely injured in pole side impacts and more than 218,000 in other side impacts. Additionally, brain injuries, often severe, were the prevailing consequence of side impacts.

Pole side impact tests exist today in Canada and the United States of America. The other contracting Parties to the 1998 Agreement are expected to adopt the new Regulation (see list below).

2.  The UN GTR is available at:

A new Regulation (1958 Agreement) on the recyclability of motor vehicles will significantly limit the waste production from end-of-life vehicles (ELV).

The Regulation requires that:
  • 85% of the total mass of end-of-life vehicles be reusable (i.e. that components of end-of life vehicles are used for the same purpose for which they were conceived) and/or recyclable (i.e. reprocessed in a production process of waste materials for the original purpose or for other purposes but excluding energy recovery); and
  • at the same time, 95% of the total mass shall be reusable and/or recoverable (i.e. reprocessed in a production process of the waste materials for the original purpose or for other purposes, together with processing as a means of generating energy).

The Regulation stipulates that manufacturers shall demonstrate that their vehicles meet these requirements, based on the calculation method prescribed in ISO standard 22628:2002, before they can be put on the market.

In Europe, the adoption of national legislation in several countries in the 1990s and the European Directive adopted in 2000 have led to significant improvements in the treatment of end-of-life vehicles in an environmentally-friendly manner.

Japan also introduced similar legislation in 2002(Act No. 87 of July 12, 2002).

Whereas some aspects of ELV-recycling – for example the minimum requirements for dismantling companies – depend on the regional or even local situation, this new Regulation provides a globally harmonized framework for all the elements which deal with the design of the vehicles. The Regulation could provide the basis for the introduction of such measures for ELV in a number of countries, including Brazil, Canada, China, India, Mexico and Russia.

The Regulation is available at:

3.  A new UN Regulation (1958 Agreement) on Retrofit Emission Control (REC) devices. This will enable the retrofit of heavy duty vehicles and non-road mobile machinery in order to reduce the emissions of local air pollutants.

In practice, this will allow to equip existing buses (and other vehicles covered by this new Regulation) with a new tailpipe so that they emit less PM and NOx, aligning their emissions of these two pollutants to a lower target level (for instance: retrofitting from norm Euro I to Euro II, Euro II to Euro III, etc.), according to the specifications of relevant UN Regulations on the emission of air pollutants of heavy duty vehicles and non-road mobile machinery: UN Regulations No. 49 and 96. For other air pollutants, the Regulation stipulates that retrofitting shall not result in increased emissions.

This will open a new policy option for local governments to obtain significant reductions in the emissions of PM and NOx from buses operating in city centres, for a fraction of the cost of the investment in new buses.

The global target audience for the UN Regulation and its wide applicability have the potential, when combined with specific retrofit requirements in national and local legislation, to enable the achievement of a quicker containment of the emissions of air pollutants, speeding up the results delivered by the progressive replacement of vehicles and engines that are scrapped from the vehicle stock.

The UN Regulation is available at:
Note to editors

The World Forum for Harmonization of Vehicle Regulations (WP.29) is a Working Party within the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe's Inland Transport Committee. It manages three Global Agreements. Any country that is member of the United Nations may participate in the activities of the World Forum.

1998 Global Agreement 

The 1998 Global Agreement establishes a process through which countries from all regions of the world can jointly develop UN Global Technical Regulations (UN GTR) regarding the safety, environmental protection systems, energy sources theft prevention of wheeled vehicles, equipment and parts.

Unlike the 1958 Agreement, the 1998 Global Agreement does not contain provisions for mutual recognition of approvals. This means that the principles agreed under a UN GTR must be introduced in the national legislation of contracting Parties to become applicable.

The 1998 Agreement entered into force on 25 August 2000 and currently counts 33 Contracting Parties across the 5 continents.

South Africa

New Zealand

People’s Republic of China
Republic of Korea

European Union
Republic of Moldova
Russian Federation
United Kingdom

United States of America


1958 Agreement

The 1958 Agreement aims at promoting the harmonization of Regulations and mutual recognition of approvals among Contracting Parties. It establishes UN Regulations for all categories of road vehicles and non-road mobile machinery equipment and parts.

There are currently 50 Contracting Parties to the 1958 Agreement.


Contracting Parties to the 1958 Agreement



The 28 Member States of the European Union (EU), the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Belarus, Russian Federation, Ukraine, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Serbia, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Turkey  


Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Japan, Republic of Korea, Malaysia, Thailand


Australia, New Zealand


Tunisia, South Africa


If you wish to subscribe to the UNECE Weekly newsletter, please send an email to:  [email protected]

United Nations Economic Commission for Europe

Information Unit

Tel.: +41 (0) 22 917 12 34

Email: [email protected]

Reproduction is permitted provided that the source is acknowledged.