Are safer cars cheaper cars?

Bay of Plenty motorists should be able to purchase safer vehicles at every point in the market according to a new survey that tracks the performance of 266 models.

The newly-released 2016 Used Car Safety Ratings guide, which is based on extensive real world crash data from New Zealand and Australia and updated every year, suggests vehicles are becoming safer, but not necessarily more expensive.

The safety of NZ’s used car fleet is improving, according to a new survey.

AA Motoring services general manager Stella Stocks says the guide shows a large number of the vehicles with excellent ratings are available second-hand for less than $15,000 and many for less than $10,000,” says Stella.

“That’s important because we’re now at a point where, on average, you’re 50 per cent more likely to be killed or seriously injured crashing a car built in 1996 than a car built in 2014.

“With so much choice in the second-hand market, being aware of the safety rating of the car you want to buy could make all the difference,” says Stella.

The good news is all market groups from small cars through to utes have at least one excellent or good driver protection rating with 28 vehicles earning the Safe Pick standard. This means they also provide good protection for occupants in other vehicles, pedestrians and motorcyclists in a crash.

“With the introduction of tougher safety standards for new vehicles and improved safety design features across the board, we’re seeing the safety of New Zealand’s used car fleet improving,” says Stella.

“That also means the benchmark for excellent protection is consistently being set higher.”

The 2016 guide includes 49 more vehicles than last year. The increase is due to the inclusion of hospital records from New South Wales which, for the first time, has been used alongside real world crash data from NZ and Australia, making the data used to assess the vehicles more comprehensive.

This year 115 vehicles received an excellent or good rating for occupant protection in a crash. At the bottom of the rating system, 96 models were considered poor or very poor and shouldn’t be considered as a safe purchase.

The ratings in the guide are based on reports from more than 7.5 million road crashes reported to Police and more than 1.7 million injured road users in NZ and Australia from 1987 to 2014. The latest ratings are not comparable with ratings published in previous years, as they have been recalculated based on the latest crash data.

The AA and the NZ Transport Agency are members of the Vehicle Safety Research Group, which commissioned the analysis of the crash data by the Monash University Accident Research Centre. To see the full 2016 Used Car Safety Ratings guide, visit:


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