Is 3 star safety satisfactory?

In September we posted a blog about the real price of safety, taking a look at the cars that state they have 5 stars, yet require you to pay extra for that 5th star. This tweaked my curiosity to monitor the ANCAP safety ratings and I happened to come across something a little worrying. 

Let’s start by stating the obvious. When searching for a vehicle for your fleet, what are some of the general features you look for? Possibly good fuel efficiency,  the number of airbags, if it has ABS brakes and dynamic stability control, functionality, room for a large load and the ANCAP safety rating. These are all big selling points when cars are advertised to the consumer. 4 of the 7 above mentioned features are safety related. So we can all agree safety plays a big part in choosing vehicles, right? After all, driving is a dangerous activity in itself.

This week, the Ssangyong Actyon Sports Ute was given an ANCAP safety rating of 3 stars. It scored 7.01 out of 16 in the offset crash test and 24.01 out of 37 overall. ANCAP stated that serious leg injury could occur if an accident took place in this vehicle. It also mentioned that the front 2 point seatbelts provide ‘inferior’ protection compared to a 3 point belt, and therefore chest protection is marginal. That’s not exactly music to the ears. However, the Ssangyong Actyon isn’t alone. In the ute sector an Isuzu D-Max was also awarded only 3 stars, a Great Wall SA220 gets 2 stars and the Proton Jumbuck received a dismal 1 star! And these are just the tip of the iceberg but I’m almost afraid to delve further!

Considering safety plays such a big part in the purchasing decision, then you would presume the manufacturers would target this area specifically. ANCAP’s website states that they do not recommend cars that are under 4 stars. So why are manufacturers still making 3 star cars when it is possible to do better? And with these types of vehicles competing to shine in the fleet market, 3 stars just won’t cut it. Surely manufacturers should know that fleet managers have a duty of care to their drivers. Not only do they need vehicles that will suit the company’s functions, but they absolutely need to be safe enough for their drivers to use on a daily basis.

Maybe this calls for a minimum safety level to be introduced by the governing bodies to prevent cars with a low safety rating being sold in Australia. As well as not having these cars on the road it would also encourage manufacturers to produce vehicles with higher safety standards.

As ANCAP states, the more stars the better.

Do you agree with ANCAP’s statement that you shouldn’t purchase anything under 4 stars?

Please share your comments below.

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Categories: Fleet Management, Safety
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