After many years of seeing the number of lives lost on our roads decreasing, sadly this trend has reversed. The number of Australians and New Zealanders dying on our roads is increasing. In 2017, 1225 lives were lost on Australia’s roads and 380 in New Zealand.
ANCAP (Australasian New Car Assessment Program) has explored possible reasons for the reversal, with recent analysis of the Australian registered light vehicle fleet revealing older vehicles are over-represented in fatal vehicle crashes, and the average age of a vehicle involved in a fatal crash is increasing.
In 2017 the average age of a registered vehicle in Australia was 9.8 years, yet the average age of a vehicle involved in a fatality crash was 13.1 years – up from 12.5 years in 2015.
ANCAP’s research shows that the oldest vehicles (those built 2001 or earlier) accounted for 20 per cent of the fleet, but were involved in 36 per cent of fatalities. In contrast, the newest vehicles (those built 2012-2017) accounted for 31 per cent of the fleet, but were involved in just 12 per cent of fatalities.
The rate of fatal crashes per registered vehicle for the oldest vehicles is four times higher than that of the newest vehicles.
With older vehicles over-represented in fatal crashes, fleet renewal; address vehicle affordability; and incentivise the purchase of newer, safer vehicles must be encouraged.