New ANCAP campaign highlights safer vehicle choices

A compelling new community education campaign highlighting the role a vehicle plays in crash survivability has been launched by the Australian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP), supported by the country’s auto clubs, including RACT.

The ‘Safer Vehicle Choices Save Lives’ campaign aims to encourage community conversation and consideration of safer vehicle choices to hopefully reduce the vehicle fleet age in Australia and New Zealand, and thereby reduce fatal and serious crashes. 

It draws upon ANCAP analysis of the Australian and New Zealand registered light vehicle fleets that revealed older vehicles are over-represented in fatal vehicle crashes, and the average age of a vehicle involved in a fatal crash is increasing. 

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Older vehicles (those built 2001 or earlier) account for 20% of the Australian vehicle fleet, but are involved in 36% of fatalities. In contrast, the newest vehicles (those built 2012-2017) account for 31% of the fleet, but are involved in just 12% of fatalities. The rate of fatal crashes per registered vehicle for the oldest vehicles is four times higher than that of the newest vehicles.

‘Tasmania has the oldest vehicle fleet in Australia, approximately 12.8 years compared to the national average of 9.8 years,’ RACT Executive General Manager, Membership and Community, Stacey Pennicott said.

‘Combine this with recent road crash statistics from the Department of State Growth that show very little improvement in the number of fatal and serious crashes in Tasmania in the past 10 years, and we are seeing an alarming trend that we are very keen to address.

‘The ANCAP campaign highlights the difference in safety features between a 1998 vehicle and a 2015 vehicle and brings in a human element that we hope will make motorists stop and think before buying their next vehicle.

‘Vehicle manufacturers are continuing to upgrade their standard safety features to maintain their 5-star ANCAP rating, with the latest market analysis showing the standard fitment of autonomous emergency braking (AEB) in new light vehicles in Australia increasing from 3% to 31% since December 2015.

‘While this is very pleasing to see, unless we can lower the average age of the vehicle fleet, it is the impact of the older vehicles on our roads when they are involved in crashes that is most concerning.’

To highlight the different crash outcomes between drivers of older and more modern vehicle choices, ANCAP has produced two commercials, the first of which went to air last night. The commercials show the parallel lives of two individuals – a young female and a middle-aged male – as they leave home for the day, seemingly oblivious to the crash they’re about to have.

The commercials have been produced to evoke awareness and active consideration of one of the contributing factors to road fatalities – vehicle age and relative safety – and the effect safer vehicle choices can have on reducing road trauma. A ‘mistake’ on the road – whether it be yours or someone else’s – can be fatal, and the commercials aim to convey this.