Older cars higher crash risk: study

Jessica Cuthbert and Gabrielle KnowlesAlbany Advertiser

For parent Rechelle Williamson Wright, safety for her eldest daughter was a high priority when buying her first car.

She said young drivers on country roads were more at risk of crashing and being injured, making it vital for them to have better, newer and safer cars.

“I just think that it is important to buy our kids a car that is up to date in all its safety features, like the air bags and the tyres,” she said. “I would rather get her something that costs me $10,000 than to get a cheaper car for $2000 that isn’t going to be as safe and will have to cost me extra in the long run, replacing tyres and making it a safer car.”

Mrs Williamson Wright said if parents were going to buy their children a car, she encouraged them to buy something decent — anything from a 2010 model and newer.

Her daughter and young driver Taliah Williamson said she felt safe driving her 2010 Hyundai Elantra on country roads.

“Older cars have less safety features and if something goes wrong, it puts you at more risk on the road and other drivers at risk,” she said. “I have a friend who was in a car accident and they drove a newer model car. I think if she was in an old run-around cheap car, she might not be here today.”

According to Australia’s independent vehicle safety advocate, ANCAP, at-risk motorists often drive older, cheaper models lacking important safety features available in more modern vehicles.

The Curtin-Monash University Accident Research Centre is recruiting drivers aged 17 to 25 and motorists of all ages who live in regional WA to take part in an online survey for the study.

Research by ANCAP — the Australasian New Car Assessment Program — found older vehicles were four times more likely to be involved in a fatal crash than newer vehicles.

The analysis showed pre-2001 vehicles accounted for just 20 per cent of registered passenger vehicles across Australia but were involved in 33 per cent of fatal crashes.

This compared to vehicles built between 2011 and 2016, which comprised 31 per cent of the fleet but were involved in just 13 per cent of fatal crashes. C-MARC is doing the research for the WA Road Safety Commission. Take part in the survey at www.c-marc.curtin.edu.au.

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