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ANCAP: Old cars four times as deadly as new

Comparison between Toyota Corollas demonstrates safety discrepancy


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15 May 2017

THE Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) has conducted a comparison test between two Toyota Corollas – one new, the other 19 years old – to demonstrate the difference in safety technologies between now and then.

The two vehicles were subjected to a frontal offset crash test carried out at 64km/h, with ANCAP chief executive officer James Goodwin stating the test “physically illustrates the benefits of newer, safer cars”.

The current-generation Corolla, which came out in 2015 and comes with six airbags, ABS, electronic brake force distribution and brake assist as standard, scored 12.93 out of a possible 16 points in the frontal offset crash test – contributing to an overall five-star rating.

On the other hand, the 1998 Corolla, which does not feature a single airbag, did not even register a full point in the same test – scoring 0.4 out of 16 – meaning it would receive a zero-star rating.

Dummy readings showed an extremely high risk of serious head, chest and leg injury to the driver.

After the crash the old Corolla showed a crumpled A-pillar, bent roof, a driver’ s door that had almost completely separated from the body of the car, a heavily crumpled front end, and significant damage to the interior including the centre console and steering wheel which protruded towards the driver.

On the other hand, the 2015 Corolla showed minimal damage beyond the front wheels, with the A-pillar only slightly dented and the interior relatively unscathed.

Mr Goodwin highlighted the fact that those most likely to be driving older vehicles were those most vulnerable to car accidents, namely young, inexperienced drivers and older, frail drivers.

“We’ve been tracking the average age of a vehicle involved in a fatal crash, and in just one year we’ve seen that average increase from 12.5 years to 12.9 years,” he said. “This highlights the need for a renewed national focus and greater support for safer vehicles.

“It is unfortunate we tend to see our most at-risk drivers – the young and inexperienced, as well as the elderly and more frail – in the most at-risk vehicles, and we hope this test promotes a conversation to encourage all motorists to consider the safety of their car.

“Safety is not a luxury and we want everyone to remain safe on the road, so consumers should look for the safest car they can afford and the safest car that suits their needs.

“The outcomes of this test are stark and the automotive, finance and insurance industries can play a part to assist in encouraging people into newer, safer cars.” Data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics shows that while vehicles built in 2000 and earlier only make up 20 per cent of vehicles on the roads, they are involved in 33 per cent of road fatalities.

Conversely, vehicles manufactured between 2011 and 2016 make up 31 per cent of registered vehicles, while only 13 per cent are involved in fatal crashes.

Overall, the average age of all vehicles on Australian roads is 9.8 years, while the average age of vehicles involved in a fatal crash is 12.9 years.

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