Safety and emissions regulations have long been touchy subjects in the auto industry, because they can dictate the legality of automobiles and are not the same from country to country. Fragmented regulations add costs to vehicle sales, and they inhibit the ability of automakers to offer the same products around the globe.

The US and EU are attempting to improve the situation with Free Trade Agreement negotiations that started this month in Washington, D.C., Wards Auto reports, which are expected to result in a deal that pushes the global auto industry toward a world vehicle-regulatory system, with an emphasis on safety requirements.

Thoughts of mandatory sealed-beam headlights and 100+pound impact bumpers – both of which were products of fragmented global vehicle-regulatory systems – still give us headaches decades later, so here's to hoping the FTA negotiations help unify safety regulations to some degree.

Be sure to read the article for all the details on the trade negotiations, and feel free to comment below.