8 AUGUST, 2012
Minister for Roads Terry Mulder today celebrated the 20th Anniversary of the Used Car Safety Ratings (UCSR) Guide and announced the 2012 list of safest cars.
Mr Mulder said the UCSR Guide is a collaborative effort to drive down the toll by VicRoads, TAC, RACV and the Monash University Accident Research Centre (MUARC).
"The road toll could be as low as 200 a year if everyone chose to drive a safer vehicle. Today we are showing Victorians how a simple decision to drive the safest car in its class can literally save lives," Mr Mulder said.
"If every Victorian upgraded their car to the safest in its class, road trauma could reduce by one third – that is 100 less people killed on our roads each year."
Mr Mulder said the UCSR Guide rates vehicle safety based on police reports of over 5 million vehicles involved in road crashes, as analysed by MUARC.
"The Guide identifies a number of safe picks to help motorists easily identify what features they should be looking for when purchasing a car. These are on display today along with a number of other vehicles to show just what a big difference they can make," Mr Mulder said.
"We know that not everyone can afford to buy a new car, but what we are showing the community today is that you don't have to spend a fortune to keep you and your family safe.
"When buying a car we tend to look closely at price, looks and size of the vehicle, but today I am urging drivers to look out for safety.
"If you imagine purchasing a four or five star ranked vehicle next time, you will be helping to get 100 people home safely to their families and friends, instead of ending in tragedy" Mr Mulder said.
"This year's guide rates 197 vehicles, covering the most popular cars made between 1996 and 2011, in the Australian and New Zealand fleets. The ratings are influenced by the vehicle's mass, design, and the types of safety features it is fitted with, such as airbags.
This year's guide features a range of five-star safety rated used vehicles available for less than $12,000. These include: 2007 – 2010 Mazda 2 2008 Ford Falcon FG 2007 Subaru Forester
"Despite newer vehicles having to comply with specific safety standards, not all new vehicles rate well. The Daewoo Tacuma 2004 model and 1999 Nissan Pulsar received just one star each," Mr Mulder said.
"We also need to be mindful of the impact on other road users – especially vulnerable users such as cyclists, motorcyclists and pedestrians.
"Sometimes cars that feel safe to drive in are dangerous to fellow road users if you have a crash," Mr Mulder said.
MUARC Senior Research Fellow Dr Stuart Newstead, said the increasing popularity of four wheel-drives and people movers had not been ignored in this year's ratings.
“While most large cars tend to rate well, there are some that don?t and it is those vehicles that Victorian families should be wary of when they are looking to buy their family car," Dr Newstead said.
The 2003 Mitsubishi Starwagon, which seats seven, received just two stars.
"You might feel safe just being in a large, heavy vehicle but in many cases, a greater vehicle weight offers no safety advantage," Dr Newstead said.
Mr Mulder said the UCSR guide was another example of how Victorian road safety agencies were working together to create a safe road user environment for everyone.
"Victorian roads are among the safest in the world and while the road toll this year is well down on the same time last year, there is no room for complacency in road safety," "By choosing a 4 or 5-star safety rated vehicle the next time you're in the market for a new car, you are helping all of us reduce crashes and ultimately save lives," Mr Mulder said.
The UCSR brochure is available here (pdf 2.7mb)
The UCSR Guide is available in print and online at www.howsafeisyourcar.com.au.
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