Every year, hundreds of people lose their lives in vehicles on our roads. Even more are seriously injured. One way of reducing the risk of death or serious injury is to travel in a safe vehicle.
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Choosing your next car should be an exciting experience. Start your search with peace of mind and always check the Used Car Safety Ratings or ANCAP safety ratings.
Safer cars save lives
Improvements to vehicle design and safety features in new cars are made every year, which is why newer cars usually offer better protection in the event of a crash.
The two main areas of vehicle safety and design are:
- Crash avoidance: Technology such as Electronic Stability Control (ESC) and Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) that can help you to avoid a crash.
- Crash protection: Specifically designed safety features such as crumple zones, seat belts, and front, side, curtain, knee, and pedestrian airbags that can prevent car occupants as well as those outside of the car from being injured or killed in the event of a crash.
Safety rating systems provide an indication or guide of the relative levels of protection offered by a vehicle in the event of a crash.
If you want to know the safety rating of your car, the most reliable sources (supported by RAC) are the Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) and the annual Used Car Safety Ratings.
Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP)
ANCAP publishes credible and independent vehicle safety ratings.
The more ANCAP stars a vehicle has, the better it performed during crash tests in a controlled laboratory setting.
To achieve the maximum 5-star rating, a vehicle must achieve the highest standards in all tests and feature advanced safety assist technologies.
A 4-star rating is the minimum recommended rating.
Buying a car that has a minimum 4-star ANCAP safety rating significantly increases your chances of survival and reduces your risk of serious injury in the event of a crash.
It’s important to note that the minimum safety standards for vehicles sold in Australia are significantly lower than the requirements for an ANCAP 5-star safety rating, so it's critical consumers check the ANCAP safety rating before they buy.
Used Car Safety Ratings
If you're buying a used car, the annual Used Car Safety Ratings are a great source of information about how safe that car is.
The Used Car safety ratings look at data from millions of real-world crashes to provide a rating that shows how well each vehicle protects its driver and other road users from death or serious injury in a crash.
Records are analysed to determine the performance of the vehicle in preventing severe injury to people involved in crashes, and the calculated safety ratings take into account the vehicle’s mass, its structural design, and the fitted safety features such as airbags and type of seat belt.
Motorcyclists are continually overrepresented in WA’s road trauma figures. Sadly, when they’re involved in a crash, their injuries are often life-changing or fatal.
Motorcyclists are extremely vulnerable road users who have little protection during a crash.
When buying a new motorbike, make sure it is equipped with stability control, if it’s appropriate, to increase your safety and reduce your risk of a crash.
Look for the CRASH and MotoCAP star ratings when selecting your helmet and protective clothing, and if you can, make sure your clothing is high visibility, so other road users can easily see you.
Our safer cars commitment
We recognise that safer cars can save lives, so in 2012 we made a major commitment to road safety by choosing to not insure or finance any vehicle that was built in, or after 2012 with an ANCAP rating of less than 4 stars.
A 4 or 5-star safety rating means your family has a much better chance of surviving a crash or avoiding serious injuries than in a vehicle with a 1, 2 or 3-star safety rating.
Read more about our Safer Cars Commitment.
RAC's position on safer cars
RAC advocates for all Western Australians, whether they are wheeling, walking, riding, using public transport, driving or being driven.
These documents outline our public policy positions, and what we are calling on from the State and Federal Governments to support better mobility for Western Australians.