Statement: Ford's 5 Star Ancap Safety Rating Is Gold

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25th August 2008, 12:54pm - Views: 657

People Transport ANCAP - Australasian New Car Assessment Program 1 image


Lauchlan McIntosh


Australasian New Car Assessment Program

What price safety - $17 billion a year, almost five deaths and 85 hospitalised a day,

family and personal trauma - it is a cost that affects us all.

But the awarding of a 5-star safety rating to Australia's first locally-made car, the 2008

Ford FG Falcon, represents a watershed for Australian drivers, their families and all

road users.  The 5-star rating is a boon for Ford, a gold star winner, and will reduce

unnecessary road trauma.

Australia's National Road Safety Strategy (NRSS) has a target to reduce road trauma -

a target Australia is not meeting and one we as a community prefer to ignore. The

NRSS aims to save up to 700 lives a year from 2000 and 2010, but it is falling well short

of that traget.

About one quarter of that forecast 700 lives, or 175, should have come from safer

vehicles.  We have seen some improvement in deaths and injuries per vehicle in the

last two years, but still too many are dying and being injured unnecessarily when there

is available the life-saving technology to seriously cut down on road trauma. Five star

cars are likely to reduce by almost 50% the risk of death when compared with a three

star car. 

ANCAP, the Australasian New Car Assessment Program, has been crash testing new

cars and comparing performances for 15 years.  Our role is to provide new car buyers

with these comparisons to help them understand the relative differences in crash test

results and vehicle safety.  

ANCAP's tests are based on internationally recognised and respected research and

protocols, aiming to encourage manufacturers to develop safe structures and safety

features in their cars.  Along with our colleagues in similar organisations world-wide, we

award relative ratings based on crash performance - rigorously, consistently, without

fear or favour.  

The Falcon joins two other Ford models we have awarded five stars - the Mondeo and

the Focus.  But this ANCAP 5-star award to the 2008 Falcon stands out as it is the first

Australian-made car to achieve this result.

Almost five people die from road crashes every day in Australia, and one person dies in

New Zealand. (At least 3000 die every day around the world, and that number is

expected to double in the next decade). New figures show that serious injuries from

crashes in Australia put some 85 people in hospital every day.

Improving vehicle safety is an important component of reducing road trauma.  ANCAP

and its members support the safer systems approach to road safety - safer drivers in

safer cars on safer roads.

More people die and more are injured from road crashes than we predicted.or planned

based on a comprehensive national plan of reduction. If these deaths and injuries

occurred from war or dare we say climate change, the community would scream this

was a crisis or an epidemic.

Vehicle safety is of course more than good ANCAP results. 

But a 5-star ANCAP result is an important hurdle and one which Ford Australia has

shown is achievable. Leading edge safety structures and features such as Electronic

Stability Control, curtain airbags and a raft of new technologies will improve not only the

crashworthiness of vehicles but also assist in collision reductions. 

In assessing Ford’s rating results, our tests clearly demonstrate the importance of good

structure rather than the simple addition of airbags to protect occupants. Both are


Some have tried to reduce the importance of the Ford achievement.  For example other

manufacturers, who have not been able to meet our hurdles here for a particular model,

when they achieve five stars here or overseas in another model they have been happy

to acknowledge that independent accreditation. 

Comments on the relevance of components of our ratings such as ESC or seat belt

warnings devices suddenly become negatives. All ANCAP does set hurdles based on

evidence.  ESC we know is a life saving new technology and although Australia may

have a high level of seat belt wearing, regrettably there is a very high

overrepresentation of non seat belt wearers in our trauma statistics. 

More must be and will be done, new technologies invented, not only for the car, but for

the driver and the roads.  We at ANCAP will continue to review our hurdles, just as Ford

and other manufacturers will continue to improve their products.

But clearly Ford has led the way here in Australia with this result.  

Governments have rightly set an agenda to encourage fuel efficiency and low emissions

in new cars. They have set aside considerable funds to support that agenda. Road

crashes cost the Australian economy alone at least $17bn a year and we know that

safer vehicles safe lives and injuries.

This is a major unrecognised public health and economic issue.

The motoring public needs to know just how safe the vehicles they want to purchase

really are.  ANCAP and its members propose an ANCAP Stars on Cars program which

publicises a car's safety rating on labels in the showroom.  The United States mandated

Stars on Cars on every new car from September 2007.  

Ford, to their credit, have announced they will display the ANCAP ratings on their

Falcons at point of sale.

ANCAP and members - Australia and New Zealand motoring clubs and road agencies,

the Victorian Transport Accident Commission, NRMA Insurance and the FIA Foundation

- have been lobbying to have ANCAP “Stars on Cars” introduced voluntarily over the

past three years

With an ageing Australia car fleet, we need to encourage all drivers into not only cleaner

cars, but also safer cars. How much would it cost for governments to encourage a

voluntary labelling scheme - as they did with ethanol filler labels - showing the star

safety ratings at the point of sale?

It is time for all of us to work together to encourage Australians into safer cars.

How much would it cost governments to set their own massive fleet purchasing policies

to buy 5-star cars?  Such a move would show commitment to that vital national target

which aims to reduce unnecessary death and injury.  We have a $500m Green Car

Fund, here is an initiative which would cost a lot less and make a real difference.  Let’s

have a Safer Car Program.

Ford's 5-star result is a gold medal performance.  This is a great result for consumers

and one which will ultimately save lives and trauma.  

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