Knowledge is the key to driving safer consumer choices for used cars

The Australian Government is partnering with the Monash University Accident Research Centre (MUARC) to deliver the Used Car Safety Ratings program.

Through this program, the Government has committed $250,000 to MUARC to deliver the Used Car Safety Ratings stream over the next five years.

This funding will continue the vital work done in developing the annual updates to the Used Car Safety Rating. Through the annual update, the program aims to influence used car buyers to choose the safest vehicle available and thereby increase the safety of all road users.

The Used Car Safety Ratings program collects and analyses the most up to date crash and vehicle fleet profile data.

The data sourced for the Used Car Safety Ratings report is determined through the independent analysis of the latest real-world crash statistics. In 2023, the ratings have been expanded to focus on not only how a vehicle protects the driver, but also its impact on other road users in a crash and its crash avoidance technology. Each of these components is rated out of five, with a new Overall Safety star rating showing the combined results. 

Used Car Safety Ratings are determined through research analysis of millions of vehicles involved in police-reported crashes across Australia and New Zealand.

Importantly, demographic factors, such as who was driving at the time of the crash and the crash circumstances are considered, with ratings adjusted based on several factors such as: driver gender, crash location, driver age, crash year, number of vehicles involved, and the speed limit at the crash location.

The annual reports include a ‘SAFER PICK’ marking on vehicles which provide good protection for the driver, are less likely to result in serious injuries to other drivers, pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists and have a lower risk of being involved in a crash (including reversing crashes).

The Car Safety Rating Program, backed by a Government commitment of $16.5 million over five years from 2023-24 to 2027-28, supports the priority area of safe vehicles under the National Road Safety Strategy and Action Plan. 

The 2023 Used Car Safety Rating Report can be viewed here: USED CAR SAFETY RATINGS 2023

Quotes attributed to Assistant Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, Senator the Hon Carol Brown:

 “The Albanese Government is delivering on our commitment to deliver funding to the Monash University Accident Research Centre through the Car Safety Ratings Program.

“Through the National Road Safety Action Plan 2023-25, the Australian Government is working towards increasing the uptake of safer vehicles, by making it easier for consumers to find information on popular used car models.

“I would like to acknowledge the significant work the Monash University Accident Research Centre do in the space of road safety. Without researchers, our pathway to Vision Zero would be all the more difficult.”

Quotes attributed to Professor Stuart Newstead, Professor and Director at the Monash University Accident Research Centre:

“Serious road trauma resulting from the worst-rated car is more than ten times that of the best rated car in the same crash with the same driver.

“If we want to optimise the safety of the fleet, we have to be wary of not just how the vehicle protects you as the driver, but also the injury risk the vehicle poses to other road users. The change in focus of the Used Car Safety Ratings to consider the ‘Overall Safety’ rating reflecting serious trauma risk the vehicle poses to all road users is a significant step towards this holistic approach to road safety.”

Quotes attributed to Jerome Carslake, Program Director of the National Road Safety Partnership Program:

“As the new host of the Vehicle Safety Research Group (VSRG) the National Road Safety Partnership Program (NRSPP) is proud to see the release of the 2023 Used Car Safety Ratings which now focuses not just on the driver but other road users.

“When anyone buys a vehicle be it used or new, they should consider what they need it for and then buy the safest vehicle which is fit for purpose within their budget.

“Choosing the safest vehicle for young people could be a life changing decision as they are the ones more likely to make mistakes behind the wheel.”