Browse Publications Technical Papers 2001-06-0218
2001-06-04

Safety benefits of improvements in vehicle design since the introduction of the ANCAP crash test program 2001-06-0218

The Australian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) has for several years funded research at the Road Accident Prevention Research Unit at the University of Western Australia aimed at quantifying the value of reducing injuries by improving vehicle safety design. An injury cost database was developed using claims data from the Motor Accidents Authority of NSW (MAA) and additional cost data from other sources. These costs were used together with the measurements from the test instruments in the ANCAP crash tests to estimate the cost of injuries to front seat occupants in the ANCAP-tested vehicles. The aim of this study was to use the injury cost information from this previous research to estimate the safety benefits of improvements in vehicle design in cars entering the passenger vehicle fleet in Western Australia since the introduction of the ANCAP crash test program in 1992. The results of the study show significant safety benefits from the design and equipment changes introduced in new models of ANCAP-tested cars manufactured between 1992 and 1997. In crashes occurring in 1997 that involved these models and variants with a similar design, the safety benefits from improvements in vehicle design amounted to $42.6 million. Over the assumed 20-year lifetime of these vehicles, the benefits from vehicle safety improvements introduced in successive models was estimated to be $890.0 million. These findings show the considerable impact of improvements in vehicle safety design on the cost of road injuries to the community.

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