New cars safe choice
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 ancap.com.au lists the crash safety rating of more than 620 cars built since 2004. The Corollas used in the crash test were bought privately.