New cars safe choice

The Weekend Post - Motoring - - CRUISE CONTROL -

ROAD safety ex­perts have re­newed calls for teens and el­derly driv­ers to get into newer cars af­ter a crash test showed how far tech­nol­ogy has ad­vanced in 20 years.

The Aus­tralasian New Car As­sess­ment Pro­gram (ANCAP) this week con­ducted a head-on crash be­tween a late model Toy­ota Corolla hatch­back and a 1998 model.

The test showed the driver of the older Corolla would likely have died as a re­sult of the 64km/h col­li­sion, whereas the driver of the newer Corolla – which has a five-star safety rat­ing – would have sus­tained only mi­nor in­juries.

Fig­ures show older ve­hi­cles (built in 2000 or ear­lier) rep­re­sent only one in five cars on our roads — but are in­volved in one-third of fa­tal crashes.

The data shows the av­er­age age of ve­hi­cles on Aus­tralian roads is 9.8 years — but the av­er­age age of ve­hi­cles in­volved in fa­tal crashes is 12.9 years.

The fig­ures go some way to ex­plain­ing why deaths of 17 to 25-year-olds and those aged 65 and over are over-rep­re­sented in fa­tal crashes when com­pared to other age groups.

“Not ev­ery­one can af­ford a brand-new car, how­ever, the fig­ures show that there is less chance of be­ing killed in a newer and safer car than an older ... ve­hi­cle,” ANCAP chief James Good­win said.

“Mo­torists should buy the safest car they can af­ford.”

Aus­tralasian Col­lege of Road Safety pres­i­dent and for­mer chair­man of ANCAP, Lauch­lan McIn­tosh, said: “No one has a 1998 tele­phone – not a young per­son or an old per­son – so why would you have a 1998 car?”

“There are a lot of peo­ple who have made a con­scious de­ci­sion to put their kids in a bet­ter car, and a lot of older peo­ple buy a five-star car – but there are still a lot of young peo­ple who, un­for­tu­nately, don’t see a five-star car as im­por­tant.”

The ANCAP web­site lists the crash safety rat­ing of more than 620 cars built since 2004. The Corol­las used in the crash test were bought pri­vately.

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