One in three used cars FAIL on safety

Victoria’s leading transport advocates say it’s disappointing that almost one-third of vehicles tested in the 2016 Used Car Safety Ratings (UCSR), scored a Poor oVery Poor rating for occupant crash safety protection.

The ratings are based on work by the Monash University Accident Research Centre (MUARC) in conjunction with the RACV, TAC and VicRoads.

Of the 266 vehicles rated, 96 models were in the Poor or Very Poor category and RACV Manager Vehicle Engineering, Michael Case said the results were disappointing.

“There will always be vehicles that rate poorly in these types of studies, but to see more than a third with a poor or very poor rating is discouraging.   We would recommend anyone looking for a used car, to give these models a wide berth.”

Mr Case said overall the smaller vehicle fared the worst when it came to safety, with a whopping 58 per cent of vehicles in the Light Car category receiving a Very Poor rating.

“The smaller vehicle categories are a massive concern. We would advise buyers to do their homework when purchasing a pre-owned small vehicle.”

Around 10 per cent of the vehicles rated earned the coveted Safe Pick rating. A Safe Pick car must achieve a 5 star rating and have Stability Control fitted.  In addition to protecting occupants, Safe Pick rated vehicles provide good protection for other road users including occupants of other vehicles, pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists, in the event of a crash.

Historically commercial vehicles have received a bad UCSR report card, however seven out of the 11 vans rated in the 2016 study scored excellent ratings with four gaining the Safe Picktag.

“This is a major leap in safety for this market group which in the past has performed very badly. This tells us commercial vehicle manufacturers have taken on board the poor results of past years and are now making concerted efforts to improve safety features in these vehicles and frankly it’s about time.”

Mr Case said the 2016 UCSR results again confirmed that safety doesn’t have to be compromised by price, with many of the top rating used vehicles priced at less than $10,000.

“You don’t have to spend a fortune to buy a safe car.  For example a Safe Pick FG Falcon (2008-2014) can be bought for under $8,000.”

Mr Case said it was pleasing to note there were six Safe Pick vehicles in the Large SUV category as these vehicles have been labelled a risk to other road users in the past.

MUARC Senior Research Fellow, Dr Stuart Newstead said the 2016 UCSR guide is an excellent resource for those looking to purchase a safe, second-hand vehicle because they measure the performance of these cars in real crashes.

“A driver of the worst vehicle rated is more than six times as likely to be killed or seriously injured in a crash, compared with having the same type of crash while driving in the best vehicle.

“It is particularly important that young drivers are behind the wheel of one of the top rated vehicles, given that they have a higher than average crash rate,” he said.

The ratings are based on reports from more than seven million actual crashes from 1987-2014 reported to police in Australia and New Zealand. They cover more than 90 per cent of popular passenger and light commercial vehicles in the Australian market, manufactured between 1982 and 2014.

The Vehicle Safety Research Group which commissioned the research is comprised of the major motoring clubs and state motoring authorities in Australia and New Zealand and is a collaborative effort to drive down the road toll.

View the full UCSR results at: insight.racv.com.au/cars/used-car-safety-ratings

Written by Lynette Keogh, RACV Public Affairs on (03) 9790 2572
August 31, 2016