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Parliamentary Secretary for Police and Emergency Services David Southwick, representing Minister for Roads Terry Mulder, on Wednesday celebrated the 21st Anniversary of the Used Car Safety Ratings (UCSR) Guide with the release of the 2013 update.
“I am delighted to announce that the Used Car Safety Ratings Guide for 2013 is now available for motorists, and I congratulate the team on the 21st anniversary of delivering these accurate ratings to enable Victorian motorists to choose a safe car,” Mr Southwick said.
“It is encouraging to see in this year’s Guide that commercial vehicles have made it into the ‘good’ or ‘excellent’ category for the first time ever.
“Historically, commercial vehicles have disappointed in the area of safety, but this year they have certainly lifted their game, with three utes – including the Holden Commodore, Mitsubishi Triton and the Nissan Navara – awarded the ‘Safe Pick’ category for the first time ever.”
Mr Southwick said the UCSR Guide is a collaborative effort to drive down the road toll by VicRoads, the Transport Accident Commission (TAC), the Royal Automotive Club of Victoria (RACV) and the Monash University Accident Research Centre (MUARC).
“We cannot determine the safety of a car just by looking at it, especially a used car. So this Guide is an essential tool for Victorians looking to buy in the second-hand market,” Mr Southwick said.
“When buying a second-hand car it is important to make the right choices to help keep you, and your family safe.”
Mr Southwick said this year’s Guide was one of the best yet, providing Victorian motorists with details relating to a vast range of safe vehicles in almost all categories.
“Driving a safer car is a crucial component in reducing the road toll. If every Victorian chose the safest car in their price range, road trauma could reduce by one third – that is up to 100 fewer people killed on our roads each year,” Mr Southwick said.
“This shows the importance of consulting these ratings before making a purchase.”
MUARC Senior Research Fellow Stuart Newstead, who led the study, said the difference in the risk of death or serious injury in a crash between the worst and the best rated car was more than nine times for vehicles built from 1996 onwards.
“Overall there are 109 vehicles in the ‘excellent’ or ‘good’ category, and 74 in the ‘poor’ or ‘very poor’. The best is the medium car category with 13 vehicles receiving the top rating for driver protection in a crash,” Dr Newstead said.
“What’s more, of these 13, six are rated as a ‘Safe Pick’, meaning they are less aggressive to other road users, including pedestrians and cyclists, and are available with electronic stability control (ESC) – a proven crash avoidance technology.
“The small car category has seven vehicles in the top rating group, and six of them are ‘Safe Picks’, including the Holden Cruze and Mazda3, both built from 2006 to 2011.
“It is also pleasing to see the 2003-09 Toyota Prius rated a top performer and a ‘Safe Pick’, showing you do not need to trade-off excellent safety features for environmental performance,” Dr Newstead said.
RACV Manager of Vehicle Engineering Michael Case said that late model Australian-manufactured vehicles were the stand-outs including the Ford Falcon, Ford Territory, Commodore Ute and Holden Statesman/Caprice.
“The vast majority of ‘Safe Pick’ cars were manufactured from 2001 on wards showing the benefits of newer vehicles, in terms of more safety equipment and better design to reduce harm to pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists in collisions,” Mr Case said.
“Local manufacturers have demonstrated they can build a vehicle with occupant protection equal to the best overseas designs. The Ford Falcon, Toyota Aurion and Holden Cruze are Australian built vehicles rated as five star ‘Safe Picks’ in the 2013 ratings.
“Industry wide there is much more thought and emphasis placed on engineering all-round safety, than ever before.”
The UCSR Guide is available in print and online at www.howsafeisyourcar.com.au