Road trauma would be significantly reduced if we drove in the safest car. The Monash University Accident Research Centre (MUARC) estimates that if every Australian motorist moved into the safest car in the same class, road trauma could be reduced by almost a third. Car safety features are often not included in Australian vehicles by manufacturers and car importers to reduce vehicle costs. These safety features not included are:
- side curtain airbags – these give protection during side-impact crashes
- electronic stability control (ESC) programs which help drivers maintain control and
- whiplash protection systems
If all vehicles were fitted with ESC, single vehicle injury crashes could be reduced by approximately 30%, saving about 50 lives in Victoria each year. (MUARCentre, 2007)
curtain/side airbags alone can reduce the risk of driver death in side impact road crashes by nearly 40%. (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, October 2006 – US)
TAC Car Safety Strategy
Our car safety strategy aims to:
- make safety the top priority when people buy a new or used car
- improve the level of safety in all cars sold in Victoria and
- encourage people to look for star ratings and key safety features.
From 2012 all new cars have been required to be fitted with head protecting technology like side curtain airbags. See the Road Safety Victoria strategy for more information.
For a list of cars with both ESC and curtain airbags see the How Safe is Your Car website. Here you will find the safety ratings and features of small cars, medium cars, large cars, luxury cars, sports cars, passenger vans and 4 Wheel drive cars.
In 2001 the TAC launched the car safety campaign, howsafeisyourcar.com.au - a campaign to encourage car buyers to buy safer cars.
How safe is your car?
How well would your own car or company car protect you or your staff in a crash? How Safe is Your Car is a website specifically designed for people who want to see the crash protection rating of their vehicles or if they are buying a new or used car.
This website has information on 80% of vehicles made post-1990 and that are driven on our roads. Cars are rated according to the crash protection of a vehicle. This includes protective features such as how it is made and safety detail such as seatbelts and airbags.
The cars are assessed using two systems that both provide useful and important information to help you buy a safe car. These are:
- Australian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP): These crash tests provide an indication of the car's protective capacity.
- Used Car Safety Ratings (UCSR): These ratings are based on real world crashes and provide a picture of the car's safety performance.
Research from the Monash University Accident Research Centre (MUARC) has shown a strong correlation between ANCAP crash test results and the car's actual real performance as shown in UCSR ratings.
See How Safe is Your Car for the latest crash test results which gives you an idea of how cars are rated.
Our crash test dummies crusade
The TAC uses the Crash Test Dummies to help promote our safe vehicle message. This dedicated team don't get out of the laboratory often, but when they do they take to events with gusto to fight for 5 star car ratings.
Keep a look out for them and join them in their crusade for safe cars by viewing the Crash Test Dummies website.
Mind if I crash it?
Some cars are safer than others
Starting at a car dealership we see a salesman and prospective buyer getting into a car. The salesman goes through the features of the car as the potential buyer gets excited. As the driver puts on his seatbelt he asks “mind if I crash into that wall first?” The salesman looks horrified. The commercial closes with a screen shots of the howsafeisyourcar.com.au website.
Stacks Up aims to make car buyers aware of the safety features needed in a car. It begins with a series of crash tests and regular features a car such as tinted windows, electronic mirrors, climate control etc. The final shot is the How Safe is Your Car website.