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Australians seeking a safe and reliable used car now have access to enhanced information with the launch of the revamped Used Car Safety Ratings (UCSRs) for 2023. Developed by the Monash University Accident Research Centre (MUARC), these annual ratings provide comprehensive insights based on real-world statistical analysis spanning over three decades.

In an effort to address evolving safety concerns, this year’s ratings go beyond evaluating a vehicle’s impact solely on its driver. The new “Overall Safety” star rating considers three critical aspects: Driver Safety, Other Road User Safety, and Crash Avoidance Technology. This expanded approach aims to guide consumers towards vehicles that not only protect their occupants but also contribute to the safety of other road users.

MUARC’s research involved analysing data from over 9 million vehicles involved in police-reported crashes and 2.5 million injured road users in Australia and New Zealand from 1987 to 2021. The results, encompassing 518 vehicle models, assign a star rating out of five for Overall Safety, Driver Safety, Other Road User Safety, and Crash Avoidance.

Among the top performers, 20 vehicles received a coveted 5-star rating across all categories, earning them the ‘Safer Pick’ status. Notable models in this elite list include the Audi A4/S4/RS4/AllRoad, Honda CR-V, Mazda CX-5, and Toyota RAV4.

For budget-conscious consumers, the report highlights affordability alongside safety. More than half of the ‘Safer Pick’ vehicles are available second-hand for under AU$10,000, with all but two priced under AU$25,000.

In a notable finding, the report underscores the continuous improvement in vehicle safety over the past 30 years. Most ‘Safer Pick’ vehicles have been manufactured since 2006, with data revealing that a vehicle made in 2021 reduces the risk of serious injuries or fatalities by 33% compared to a 2001 model.

Professor Stuart Newstead, the Research Lead and MUARC Director, emphasised the importance of the new approach, stating, “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 Used Car Safety Ratings 2023 aims to empower consumers to make informed decisions, fostering a holistic approach to road safety.  In line with this, the MUARC will be hosting a webinar that will explore the new UCSRs, what contributed to the overall safety score, the 2023 “Safer Pick” vehicles you should buy, and those you should avoid. Joining MUARC expert Professor Stuart Newstead is Blake Harris of the Transport Accident Commission (TAC) who will explain how the UCSRs. Click here to register.

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