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Uber adopts five-star car safety policy but not newer vehicles

Uber passengers will soon have the benefit of riding only in cars with a five-star ANCAP safety rating but the vehicles will still be up to 10 years old.

Uber passengers will soon have the benefit of riding only in cars with a five-star safety rating – however most cars will still be allowed to be up to 10 years old.

Ride sharing service Uber has announced it will join Australian governments and leading fleet operators by adopting a policy of only having cars with five-star ANCAP safety standards.

Drivers of all new vehicles signing up to Uber from October 2019 will need to have a car with five-star safety rating (or equivalent for luxury vehicle) and be less than 10 years old. Vehicles in Uber Black, Uber Lux and Uber SUV fleets must be less than seven years old.

Exisiting drivers on the Uber fleet will have two years to switch to a safer car if their current vehicle does not already comply.

“This will give driver-partners time to adjust to the new safety standard,” a statement from Uber said, adding the company is “deeply committed to the safety of our customers, communities and everyone who shares the road”.

“While we believe Uber’s technology has already helped to make transport safer, for example by ensuring no trip is anonymous and GPS tracking for every trip, we also believe there are ways we can help further improve road safety in Australia,” said Lucas Groevenveld, Uber Australia head of drivers.

Future Uber vehicles must meet either the latest five-star safety criteria or have been eligible for five stars under less stringent criteria over the past seven years.

“Today the majority of UberX trips in Australia are already taken in cars that have a five-star ANCAP rating or equivalent. What this new policy means is that in a few years’ time, that will be the case for all trips,” said Mr Groevenveld.

“Adopting a five-star ANCAP policy builds on our already strong minimum vehicle requirements, which requires vehicles to be less than 10 years old, in excellent working condition, have third-party insurance, and be re-inspected each year subject to state regulations,” he said.

ANCAP chief executive James Goodwin said Uber’s initiative shows “strong leadership”.

“Five-star safety is now the expected standard among Australian car buyers, and we should continue to expect that same high standard whenever we use a car,” Mr Goodwin said in a media statement.

“The introduction of this policy in Australia sees Uber join a wide range of major corporations, governments, local councils, and businesses which have adopted five-star vehicle purchase and use policies in Australia in recent years,” Mr Goodwin said.

This reporter is on Twitter: @JoshuaDowling