Not too long ago, the French insisted on mandating yellow headlights.
At the time, it seemed quite ridiculous, but the French believed the yellow lights were safer and insisted on them for many years. Thankfully, the yellow headlights have faded, but there are still thousands of rules and laws that apply only to specific nations or regions.
It's time, once again, to see if we can create a commonality for automobiles.
Sure, most vehicles are created and sold within a region and are never shipped to another nation. But all the major players are global, and they use common platforms and engines for their vehicles.
Besides, we all live on the same planet. I would like to think that everyone deserves the same quality of air and safety.
The old argument was that developing nations can't afford the emissions control and safety features that other nations can. I'm not sure that is true anymore.
There is no reason why we can't have basic rules and regulations that pertain to all vehicles in certain weight classes and allow nations or companies to offer customers more safety in specific markets.
When you look at certain cities around the world -- like Los Angeles, Mexico City, Sao Paulo or Cairo -- there can be no debate that those areas need the toughest forms of pollution control.
And is there any reason to ignore certain countries as far as basic safety rules are concerned? Perhaps not all customers around the world can afford side curtain airbags or electronic stability control, but the cost has dropped dramatically for antilock brakes and front airbags.
Are the opinions of engineers about minimum emissions and safety requirements so different around the world? I doubt it. The monetary savings would be tremendous.
It's time for engineers to come up with a laddered approach to safety and pollution control. Start with everyone on the same rung of the ladder and keep working up the same ladder.
That is a worthwhile project for the SAE to tackle. And one that is long overdue.