Vehicle Safety 101

The New Car Assessment Program (NCAP) has been in use for many years, it assess and rates vehicle safety, based on a scale of one to five stars. The more stars, the better the vehicle performed in ANCAP tests. To achieve the maximum 5 star ANCAP vehicle safety rating, a car must achieve the highest standards in all tests and feature advanced safety assist technologies.  In addition, vehicles must be fitted with certain vehicle safety features and safety assist technologies. NCAP rates vehicles to determine crash-worthiness and rollover safety. The vehicle safety ratings are gathered during controlled crash and rollover tests conducted at  research facilities. Five stars indicate the highest safety rating and one star the lowest.  Unlike active safety features – which aim to prevent or mitigate crashes when they do happen – the main function of passive safety features is to keep the driver and passengers protected within the vehicle from various crash forces. Modern vehicles contain what engineers sometimes refer to as a “life space”.

ANCAP has recently introduced new vehicle safety testing standards to improve the active and passive safety elements of vehicles. In a statement, the safety body said it was looking closely at the performance of active safety assist technologies and the ability of a vehicle to protect a broader range of occupants. Vulnerable road user safety has also been prioritised with emphasis placed on avoiding crashes with pedestrians and cyclists at day-time and night over 100 different test scenarios.  The first vehicle models to be tested under the new protocols were the Mazda CX-8 and Volvo XC40 with both receiving five star safety ratings under the new assessment.

ANCAP CEO James Goodwin said the increasing criteria would ensure that brands would need to remain committed to improving vehicle safety. “The hurdles have been significantly raised for vehicles tested from 2018. “We now test and rate against four key pillars of assessment, and across these we have implemented a range of enhancements to encourage vehicle manufacturers to improve the active and passive safety elements of their models.  It’s encouraging to see Mazda and Volvo set the standard, with their CX-8 and XC40 models being the first to step up and achieve five stars against our increased test standards.”

Vehicle and driver safety has become an increasingly critical issue in car design and construction. Crashes are significantly more survivable in a new vehicle than an aged vehicle with few or no safety features. As autonomous or self-driving cars become a common reality, developments in technology will continue to actively avoid crashes, and protect drivers, passengers and pedestrians from harm.


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