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New car buyers to look for Stars on Cars

9 DECEMBER, 2009

Victorians are being urged to look for "stars on cars" stickers when they purchase their next new car from Volkswagen, Hyundai, Subaru and Skoda in a pilot program launched today.

The ANCAP Victorian partners, VicRoads, RACV and the Transport Accident Commission (TAC) have launched the program to give car buyers more safety information at the point of sale.

ANCAP Council Chair and VicRoads Manager Vehicle Safety, Ross McArthur said that it was the first time that such a program has run in Victoria.

"The Stars on Cars program is based on a successful Western Australian pilot and will see up to 50 car dealers in Melbourne and Geelong being asked to display star crash rating stickers on vehicles with 4 or 5 star ratings," Mr McArthur said.

"We are thrilled that Volkswagen, Hyundai, Subaru and Skoda have joined the program and are supporting our push for consumers to have more information about the safety of their vehicles."

Mr McArthur continued, "Vehicle manufacturers and importers in Australia have dramatically improved the safety of their vehicles over the past decade, but it is still important to check the safety rating when purchasing a new vehicle."

The risk of being killed or seriously injured in a crash can vary by up to five times depending on the car you are in according to the Used Car Safety Ratings (UCSR).

ANCAP, Australia's leading independent vehicle safety advocate, crash tests new vehicles and awards safety-star ratings based on internationally recognised protocols.

The RACV Chief Engineer, Michael Case said that ANCAP uses four internationally recognised crash tests: offset frontal, side impact, pedestrian and pole impact to determine safety ratings.

"Crash tests are undertaken by independent specialist crash test laboratories. In all tests crash test dummies are used to facilitate the scientific measurement of the various forces in the crash test."

"The data gathered is then assessed, using internationally recognised protocols, and scores are determined for various parts of the crash test. The overall score is then translated into a star rating, between 1 to 5 stars. The higher scores are awarded more stars." ANCAP results are published on an annual basis and inform consumers of the relative safety performance of new cars on the Australian market.

TAC Manager for Road Safety Samantha Cockfield said that if everyone upgraded their car to the safest in its class, the Victorian road toll could be cut by a third overnight.

"Your car's safety features could mean the difference between life and death for you or a member of your family. That's why it's so important that people actively look for 4 or 5 star rated cars through our Stars on Cars program."

To achieve a 5 star rating a vehicle must be fitted with Electronic Stability Control (ESC).

As announced earlier this year, the Victorian Government has mandated that all new cars will be need to be fitted with ESC from 2011 and side head protecting technology like curtain airbags from 2012.

Australian research shows that ESC reduces the risk of a single car injury crash by up to 30% with no other safety device having such potential. Research conducted in the USA estimates that head protecting airbags can reduce driver deaths in the event of a side impact crash by close to 40%.

"Improving the average safety level of vehicles on Victoria's roads will significantly reduce fatalities and serious injuries resulting from crashes," said Ms Cockfield.

ANCAP is supported by all Australian and New Zealand motoring clubs, all Australian state governments, the New Zealand government, the Victorian Transport Accident Commission, NRMA Insurance and the FIA Foundation. 

For a full list of vehicle safety ratings and other vehicle safety information, go to www.howsafeisyourcar.com.au

To view the brochure and to see a list of the dealers participating view the Stars on Cars page

Media contacts:

TAC:            Amanda Bavin, Media and Communications Adviser - 0439 567 249
VicRoads:     Rachel Gillard, Media and Communications Adviser – 0408 590 772
RACV:          Jo Robertson, Senior Communications Advisor - 0407 910 278


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