“In leaving the EU, the UK will be withdrawing from a complex ecosystem of vehicle regulation that has hugely improved car safety and saved tens of thousands of lives," Ward, who is British, wrote on his website.
"This has profound implications for the interests of the public and our automotive industry.”
Ward criticised Prime Minister Theresa May’s recent assertion that the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) is the main decision-maker in car safety standards, pointing out that 28 of the UNECE's 56 member states also belong to the EU.
The UNECE serves to encourage economic co-operation on the Continent and presides over the UN's World Forum for the Harmonization of Vehicle Regulations (known as WP.29), a key global standard-setting body with 62 participating countries. Of these, around 40 usually meet for votes on regulations, Ward claims, with EU states voting as a bloc. Because WP.29 only requires an 80% majority to pass a vote, EU states normally get their way.
"So, May got it backwards," said Ward. "It's EU decision-making that underpins the adoption of UNECE regulations, not the other way around."
He continued: "Post-Brexit, the UK will be free to exercise its sovereign rights to vote as it likes on new UNECE vehicle standards. But this will be a kind of mini-decision to be taken alongside the mega-decision already taken by the EU. And most likely we will vote the same way as the EU to avoid being on the losing side. So, outside the EU, even in the UNECE, the UK will effectively be just a rule-taker."