'This is the first campaign of its kind, where the vehicle is profiled as being the life-saving factor in a crash.'

The Australian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) has launched a campaign encouraging car buyers to stump for the newest possible car, asking 'who would survive' a head-on collision between a 1998 and 2015 Toyota Corolla to illustrate how far passive safety has improved over the past two decades.

“This is the first campaign of its kind, where the vehicle is profiled as being the life-saving factor in a crash,” said ANCAP chief executive, James Goodwin.

“Many road safety campaigns have tended to focus on behavioural aspects such as speed, fatigue, drink driving and enforcement. They remain vital, however this campaign highlights the importance of choosing a safer vehicle.”

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the modern Corolla fared a lot better than its classic counterpart. When the two cars hit each other at 64km/h, the 2015 car's driver was at slight risk of a lower-leg injury, while the 1998 driver was at extremely high risk of serious head, chest and leg injuries, with ANCAP describing the same accident as 'unsurvivable'.

The focus on old vs new is because outdated vehicles are wildly over-represented in Australian road fatalities. The oldest vehicles on our roads account for just 20 per cent of the fleet, but are involved in 37 per cent of all fatal accidents, while vehicles built between 2012 and 2017 make up 31 per cent of the fleet but account for just 12 per cent of fatalities.

“Too often people say the older car is safer and stronger. It is quite clear that is not the case,” said Goodwin.

“Importantly, this campaign also establishes the call to improve the affordability of newer, safer vehicles and encourage fleet renewal.”

Above is a similar experiment from the North American IIHS.