ANCAP’s new vehicle safety protocols, explained
How ANCAP’s new vehicle safety protocols will help keep you safe on the road.
From crumple zones to autonomous emergency braking to features that put pedestrian safety front of mind, the past 20 years have seen dramatic improvements in vehicle safety.
Take, for example, 2000’s Toyota Corolla Conquest Seca hatch, which when released had just a single airbag as its standout safety feature. Its 2020 equivalent, the Toyota Corolla Ascent Sport, has by comparison at least 18 standard safety features, including six airbags, antilock brakes, reversing camera, autonomous emergency braking, electronic stability control, lane-departure warning, road-sign recognition, pedestrian avoidance with braking control and more.
The increased focus on safety from manufacturers has largely been a result of pressure from our vehicle safety watchdog, the Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP).
ANCAP was founded in 1992 and has steadily pushed for better safety outcomes for road users through the vehicle crash safety ratings program, as well as lobbying government for more stringent safety regulations. Through the safety ratings, ANCAP regularly changes the protocols to include the latest advancements as part of the tests, which forces car companies to lift their game and include more safety features in their latest models.
Safety features have been treated as premium features by some manufacturers, which might only offer the latest tech in flagship models or variants, leaving high-volume entry-level models with inadequate safety equipment. It wasn’t so long ago that reversing cameras were only found on higher-end models – now they’re standard on a $15,000 Kia Picanto. Fewer OEMs are holding back important new safety features for pricier models these days, but some still do.
ANCAP also keeps an eye on the safety of our vehicle fleet overall. It hammered home the disparity between the safety of older and newer models a couple of years ago by crashing a 1998 Toyota Corolla into a 2015 Toyota Corolla. The frontal-offset test replicated a head-on crash at 64kmh and the video of the crash is shocking, with the older car all but destroyed.