There was a concerning 4.9 percent increase in the number of people killed on Australian roads in 2015. There are many reasons why those 1,209 people died, but it is clear that safer cars are a vital element in reducing trauma on our roads.
Given the community has become used to hearing about continuing reductions in the road toll over the past few years, this sudden jump is likely to mean vehicle safety is set to be a key topic of discussion amongst politicians, the media and, indeed, new car buyers, in 2016.
The Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) released safety ratings for 45 vehicles last year, covering 94 percent of the new vehicle marketplace. It is encouraging that 83 percent of these vehicles were awarded a 5-star safety rating.
In the competitive and growing SUV category, we tested 17 vehicles, only two of which failed to reach the 5-star mark.
One of the vehicles was the Hyundai Tucson, which received a disappointing 4 stars when it was first crash tested by ANCAP in September 2015.
Our initial testing of the 2.0-litre GDi petrol 2WD variant revealed the structural integrity of the driver footwell was compromised in the frontal offset test and there was also excessive movement of the brake pedal, meaning the vehicle could not achieve 5 stars. This was below what ANCAP, Hyundai and the community expected of a new vehicle in such a competitive segment.
The teams at ANCAP and Hyundai identified steps that might rectify these issues through both design and production line changes. Following significant safety-related improvements, ANCAP tested the updated Tucson in December 2015 and the new model achieved the 5-star safety rating.
This case highlighted the importance of local, independent vehicle testing to ensure consumers can be accurately informed about the vehicles they are looking to purchase, and also the actions of a responsible brand concerned about the safety of their customers.
ANCAP can achieve improved road safety outcomes by working with the automotive industry to ensure the community is driving the safest vehicles possible. We’re continually improving the safety of the national vehicle fleet.
With the recent increase in road fatalities, now more than ever we need to work together to demonstrate to potential new car buyers the importance of driving the safest vehicle possible.
I look forward to working with vehicle brands, Dealership management and sales representatives to help show the benefits of buying a safer vehicle.
ANCAP is the leading independent crash testing authority in the Australasian region, providing consumers with safety ratings and crash test information on new vehicles available in the region.