The Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) has performed a head-on crash test between two cars of the same lineage, 17 years apart, to highlight newly unveiled data suggesting older vehicles are four times more likely to be involved in a fatal crash than their modern counterparts.
Designed to dramatically demonstrate the improvements in vehicle and passenger safety over the last near-on 20 years, the 64km/h frontal off-set test between a 2015 Toyota Corolla and its 1998 ancestor, clearly shows the benefit of being behind the wheel of a modern car in a head-on crash.
“This test physically illustrates the benefits of newer, safer cars,” ANCAP CEO James Goodwin said.
The test coincides with the release of ANCAP data on the Australian vehicle fleet, which shows that, although older vehicles (those from 2000 or earlier) make up 20 per cent of registered vehicles, they’re involved in 33 per cent of fatal passenger vehicle and SUV crashes.
By contrast, ANCAP’s analysis shows that newer cars (those built between 2011-2016) are only involved in 13 per cent of fatal crashes, despite making up a higher 31 per cent of Australia’s fleet.
“It is concerning the rate of fatal crashes is four times higher for older vehicles than for new vehicles,” Goodwin said.
“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.
“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.”
ANCAP says following the head-on crash, the 1998 Toyota Corolla sustained “catastrophic structural failure”, while its dummy ‘driver’ registered readings showing an “extremely high” risk of receiving serious head, chest and leg injuries. It scored 0.40 out of a possible 16 points, earning itself zero stars.
The 2015 Toyota Corolla, on the other hand, “performed very well”, with its five-star levels of protection helping it earn a score of 12.93 out of a possible 16 points.