To mark the 20th anniversary of European Union (EU) crash test legislation, Global NCAP has carried out a car-to-car crash test of one of Europe’s best-selling models, the Ford Fiesta; one dating from 1998 and the other a current model.

Applied from October 1998, front and side impact standards have cut vehicle occupant deaths in Europe by half and saved tens of thousands of lives. The same crash tests, subsequently adopted as United Nations regulations, are now the most important benchmarks for occupant safety around the world.

The Ford Fiesta 20th anniversary crash tests, both carried out with vehicles travelling at 64 km/h, demonstrate the huge improvement in occupant safety that has taken place over the last 20 years. The bodyshell of the 1998 Fiesta collapses risking fatal and serious injuries to the driver and passengers. In contrast the modern Fiesta withstands the impact well, with minimum risk of life threatening injury.

Together with the crash demonstration, Global NCAP’s Secretary General David Ward has written an anniversary article that explains how EU crash tests have become global life savers.

“Over the next 20 years car safety will be transformed again by advanced technologies for driver assistance and greater vehicle autonomy,” said Ward. “We will move from saving lives during a crash to avoiding the crash entirely.”

View the Ford Fiesta car-to-car crash test below: