A new survey has found four out of five drivers would like star-rating labels on new cars at their point of sale.
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More than 80 per cent of drivers polled in a recent survey have backed calls for safety rating labels to be mandatory on new cars in showrooms.

West Australia’s Royal Automobile Club (RAC) – the equivalent of the NRMA in NSW, the RACV in Victoria, and the RACQ in Queensland – recently surveyed approximately 500 of its members.

The survey found about 90 per cent of respondents rated safety as a priority when purchasing a new or used car.

However, 55 per cent of respondents admitted they were unaware of the safety rating of their current vehicle.

In a media statement, RAC spokesman William Golsby said “increasing the visibility of safety ratings has the potential to save hundreds of lives by helping consumers make more informed and safer choices.”

He added: “There is currently no mandatory requirement to display vehicle safety ratings at point of sale in Australia, yet the energy rating on your microwave has been compulsory since 2012. One heats your food; the other could save your life.”

The RAC has long campaigned for what it calls ‘Stars on Cars’, the mandatory display of a vehicle’s safety score at the point of sale, such as new-car showrooms.

The proposal to make safety rating labels mandatory on new cars in showrooms has the support of the Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP), which assesses the vehicles and publishes the scores.

“There is strong market support for ANCAP safety ratings to be available for all new vehicles, with safety ranking as the most important attribute by new car buyers," said ANCAP CEO, Ms Carla Hoorweg. "This same consumer research has shown nine in 10 new car buyers believe ANCAP safety ratings should be displayed on all new cars.

“ANCAP has been very successful in encouraging the market supply and consumer uptake of five-star rated vehicles through its voluntary consumer information program, with the overwhelming majority of all new vehicles sold last year (92 per cent) holding a five-star ANCAP safety rating.”

ANCAP, an independent body which crash-tests and assesses collision avoidance technology, ranks cars with a star-rating from one to five stars. However motorists currently need to check the ANCAP website for details where the results of more than 500 tests dating back to 2008 can be accessed.

Meanwhile, fuel rating labels – which estimate a vehicle's consumption based on laboratory tests – have been compulsory on new motor vehicles sold in Australia since 2001.