Canberrans urged to buy safer cars with risk of fatality four times greater in older vehicles

Glynis Quinlan 6 June 2019 21

Visitors to Bunnings Tuggeranong look at the respective damage done to the two cars in the 64 km/h crash test. Photos supplied by ANCAP.

Canberrans are being urged to make safer vehicle choices in a community awareness campaign presenting the ‘life or death’ consequences of these decisions.

Independent vehicle safety authority ANCAP has joined forces with the ACT Government to draw attention to the role the age of a vehicle plays in whether ACT road users will survive in a crash – with research showing the risk of a fatality is four times greater in an older car.

To bring home the message, ANCAP last weekend had two vehicles from a car-to-car crash test at 64 km/h on display at Bunnings Tuggeranong and Belconnen.

The cars, which are at the centre of a television advertising campaign, are both Toyota Corolla hatchbacks but one is a 1998 model and one is a 2015 model. The crash test showed that the driver of the older car would not survive while the driver of the newer car would walk away.

“The cars which were on display showed the stark reality of how two different vehicles fared in the same crash,” ANCAP chief executive, James Goodwin said.

“We too often hear ‘it won’t happen to me’, but it can and it does. It might not be your fault, but if you’re in the safest vehicle you can be, you’re giving yourself and your family the best chance at either avoiding or minimising the consequences of a crash.”

ANCAP research shows that one in five vehicles on Australian roads are more than 15 years old, yet they’re involved in one in three fatality crashes.

In contrast, vehicles less than five years old make up one-third of the vehicles on our roads but are involved in just one in 10 fatality crashes.

“The ACT is one of the safest jurisdictions with the lowest number of road fatalities, but this shouldn’t mean Canberrans should be complacent when it comes to vehicle choice,” Mr Goodwin said.

He said that people were intrigued by the crashed cars on display at Bunnings Tuggeranong last Saturday (June 1) and Bunnings Belconnen (June 2), with some people encouraging their friends to come and see them.

“We’re trying new ways to engage with the community and get everyday people doing everyday things to think about the safety of the car they drive or travel in.”

Mr Goodwin said it is unfortunate that we tend to see our most at-risk drivers – the young and inexperienced, as well as the elderly and more frail – in the most at-risk vehicles.

“Safety is not a luxury and we want everyone to remain safe on the road, so consumers should look for the safest car they can afford and the safest car that suits their needs.”

ACT Road Safety Minister Shane Rattenbury attended the event at Bunnings Tuggeranong to show his support for the campaign.

ACT Road Safety Minister Shane Rattenbury (left) and ANCAP chief executive James Goodwin at the car display.

“Improvements in vehicle safety, including advances in braking, handling, lighting, seat belts and airbags, have contributed significantly to road trauma reduction,” Mr Rattenbury said.

“Many injuries could be avoided, and lives saved, simply by driving safer cars.

“I encourage all drivers to buy the safest car they can afford. This could be a used car, it doesn’t have to be the newest car in the showroom.”

ANCAP safety ratings for more than 710 new and used vehicle models can be viewed at

Below is the ANCAP television commercial which screened in the ACT in January and features the two crash-test cars.

Are you concerned that it is young drivers who tend to drive the most at-risk vehicles? Should more attention be paid to this? Let us know in the comments below.

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21 Responses to Canberrans urged to buy safer cars with risk of fatality four times greater in older vehicles
tim_c tim_c 8:02 am 14 Jun 19

If they really want Canberrans to be safer, they should stop handing out licences to people who have no intention of obeying the road rules, which afterall, are there for everyone’s safety (no just for the Canberra city council to make extra revenue on the occasional ‘blitz’)

Lucy Baker Lucy Baker 4:12 pm 11 Jun 19

I have observed at least a dozen cars with one brake-light not working over the last month. There will almost certainly be drivers whose cars have no brake light working – which would have to be causing accidents. The other day I tried to tell a woman at the traffic lights that her brake light wasn’t working, but she wouldn’t lower her window to listen. It would be great if there was a social media method for warning drivers to check their rear lights. Remember when we had rego inspections? Everyone’s lights worked in those days.

Capital Retro Capital Retro 12:54 pm 11 Jun 19

“Nathan Cooper you buy the safest car you can afford.”

I actually buy the only car I can afford.

Liz Hampton Liz Hampton 9:17 am 11 Jun 19

What is the safest car for $1000? Asking for a friend

Capital Retro Capital Retro 8:23 am 11 Jun 19

“I think they’re pushing the narrative so car sale stamp-duty intake increases.”

There is no “stamp duty” on a motor vehicle purchase. There used to be sales tax but this was replaced by the GST.

There is stamp duty on new or transfer registration.

Marlon Leicester Marlon Leicester 11:44 pm 10 Jun 19

My '92 Celicas been rear-ended twice and not a dent. I'm sure the lack of crumple could be killer in a really big impact but it sure is cheaper to have an old car that's built like a brick. Both modern vehicles who hit it were much worse off. I'm just going to rely on most others driving modern crumpling cars to keep me safe. It's selfish but hey, I'm broke.

    Marc Blackmore Marc Blackmore 6:20 am 11 Jun 19

    Marlon Leicester modern cars are designed to crumble to absorb the impact. In a high impact you don’t stand a chance in an old car. Every if it looks stronger but it ain’t

    Marlon Leicester Marlon Leicester 8:53 am 11 Jun 19

    AnneandMarc Blackmore that's exactly what I already said - luckily most people drive modern cars, so my collisions so far were both luckily with modern cars which crumpled, reducing the impact I experienced and leaving my car fine, which is ideal when you're a broke student.

Malcolm Campbell Malcolm Campbell 10:00 pm 10 Jun 19

A much better and safer choice is a Toyota lands cruiser with the big aluminium bull bar on the front

    Julie Macklin Julie Macklin 10:53 pm 10 Jun 19

    "Toyota lands cruiser with the big aluminium bull bar on the front" For the Toyota land cruiser driver and passengers maybe, but increases the danger for other road uses. But 'when' everyone starts to drive them, I might then suggest the next suggestion should be, tanks. Keep them getting bigger than everyone else 🙄.

    James Forge James Forge 11:10 pm 10 Jun 19

    Not too safe when they roll over because of their high centre of gravity.

    Bill Gemmell Bill Gemmell 12:03 am 11 Jun 19

    Not what the research suggests. My reading is that a bullbar actually reduces the effectiveness of all the crumple zones designed into the landcruiser by the swarm of engineers who perfected the design. And then you have the implications for everyone else.

    Wayne Colless Wayne Colless 3:27 pm 11 Jun 19

    Malcolm Campbell It turns into an arms race, everyone upgrading to the next level, looking to protect themselves from other people's heavy duty transport.

    Bill Gemmell Bill Gemmell 7:38 pm 11 Jun 19

    Wayne Colless having a big 4wd helped this dude:

Nate Mooré Nate Mooré 9:24 pm 10 Jun 19

Can someone explain the concept of this? I GET it, but I don't know how many people buy an old (cheap) car by 'choice'.

    Marc Blackmore Marc Blackmore 6:24 am 11 Jun 19

    Nathan Cooper you buy the safest car you can afford. There are plenty of cheaper safe cars around. It about being aware and doing the research

Grant Tobias Grant Tobias 9:00 pm 10 Jun 19

I think they're pushing the narrative so car sale stamp-duty intake increases.

Consumers are waking up; there's no reason not to keep a car for decades. Indeed this is the environmentally conscious way to live - heavy industry need not mine the resources and pump out a new car for each person each year!

bigred bigred 8:23 pm 10 Jun 19

I am always astounded how Mr Rattenbury (and his predecessors) will encourage us to buy safer cars but will not address the core issue in road trauma: incompetent drivers.

Donna Burns Donna Burns 7:40 pm 10 Jun 19

I saw these cars at Bunnings and found it really interesting. It is amazing the damage at only 64kms. A bit scarey really!

Johno Bakker Johno Bakker 6:32 pm 10 Jun 19

They gonna buy one for me, I'll wait ! 🤔

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