Australia Leads Way on Major Road Safety Initiative with New Design Rule

Media Release


17 December 2015

Motorists will soon be much safer on Australian roads following the signing into law of a new Australian Design Rule (ADR) that will better protect motorists involved in side impact crashes.

The ADR, which will begin in November 2017, was approved by Minister for Major Projects Paul Fletcher this week. This new rule follows the development of an international standard for side impact crashes.

“This ADR is based on United Nations Global Technical Regulation (GTR) 14, which sets strict performance criteria for light passenger and commercial vehicles in side impacts with a narrow object such as a pole. However, it will also improve occupant protection in other side impacts, including car- to-car impacts,” Mr Fletcher said.

“Side impacts account for over 20 per cent of Australian road deaths and a disproportionately high number of brain injuries, which carry a huge social cost. The new ADR is a major road safety initiative aimed at addressing this issue by setting performance criteria that require effective safety measures such as curtain side airbags, thorax airbags and better crash sensors.

“It is estimated that this measure will save 128 lives and avoid 195 severe or moderate brain injuries over 15 years, while providing net benefits to the community of $417 million.”

Mr Fletcher noted that Australia had led the development of GTR 14—the first time Australia has led development of an international vehicle standard—because of the significance of side impact crashes in the Australian road toll.

“GTR 14 is the first vehicle standard in the world that makes use of the World Side Impact Dummy (WorldSID), the most advanced crash dummy available. WorldSID closely mimics the behaviour of the human body, ensuring that the new ADR will deliver real-world benefits,” Mr Fletcher said.

“The new ADR—Pole Side Impact Performance—will commence for new model light passenger vehicles on 1 November 2017 and for new model light commercial vehicles on 1 July 2018.”

Mr Fletcher said that while this timetable was consistent with the expected timetable for implementation of GTR 14 in other parts of the world such as Japan and Europe, he believed Australia would be the first country to implement the standard, reflecting the importance of the issue to Australia.

“It is pleasing that our country has led development of a new standard which will save lives not only in Australia but all around the world,” Mr Fletcher said.

Development of a standard for pole side impact crash protection is an agreed initiative under action item 16(d) of the National Road Safety Strategy 2011–20 and action item 6 of the National Road Safety Action Plan 2015–2017.