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Australia's vehicle design rules are putting us in the danger zone

21/04/2021 by Mark Schneider in Safety

Vehicle safety has been in the news lately with the shocking announcement that a delivery van scored a miserable zero-star rating in an ANCAP (Australasian New Car Assessment Program) safety assessment.

ANCAP has been crashing new vehicles into things and having things slam into them since 1993, and publishing their results to improve vehicle safety and save lives on Australian and New Zealand roads.

We all have a lot to thank ANCAP for. They’ve raised awareness of vehicle safety while giving us an objective measure of it in an easy-to-understand form. In many cases the negative publicity of a low star rating has forced vehicle makers to get their act together and give us safer vehicles.

But if you’re thinking that ANCAP’s zero-star rating will banish this dangerous vehicle from Australia’s roads you can think again. It’s still on sale, and that really highlights a problem in the Australian Design Rules (ADRs) that govern the vehicles we drive.

The executive director of the Australian Fleet Management Association, Mace Hartley, put his finger on the problem recently in an article in Go Auto News.

“If we really wanted to do the right thing, ADRs have to be altered to set a minimum standard for vehicles. It’s not ANCAP’s job.

“I think the Australian government is letting us down by letting us have a standard so low that a vehicle like this could be here.”

Now when vehicles perform miserably in ANCAP ratings their makers are prone to falling back on outdated EuroNCAP safety standards, usually from years ago, to defend them.

It’s a rather academic point when you’re lying dead in the mangled wreckage of your zero star-rated vehicle in a crash you could have survived in a five-star rated one.

To put it bluntly, many vehicle makers wish ANCAP wasn’t here, it embarrasses them, and some are starting to push back against it.

It’s rather a different matter when their vehicles gather the full five stars, of course. In that case they’re likely to trumpet the achievement in their advertising.

No excuse

With so much choice available to Australian vehicle buyers there’s no excuse for driving an unsafe one. When it comes to vehicle safety it’s not necessarily the case that you get what you pay for. The Kia Picanto is one of the cheapest cars in Australia, yet it’s earned a five-star safety rating from ANCAP, and it’s not the only cheapie to achieve that.

Likewise, if you run a vehicle fleet then there’s no excuse for sending your staff out in anything but the safest possible vehicle, because you have a moral obligation and a duty of care to keep them safe at work while they’re on the road.

Your staff shouldn’t have to risk serious injury or even their life simply for going to work.

Even if your business uses delivery vans there’s no excuse, because vans with five-star ANCAP safety ratings are readily available.

Safety matters, so if it’s time you upgraded your vehicle fleet to a safer one contact Fleetcare today for a chat about putting your staff behind the wheel of something safer, better, and cheaper to run.

Written by
Mark Schneider

Mark is a successful copywriter with over 20 years of professional writing experience.

We welcome him as a guest blogger to Fleettorque.

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