Vehicle safety ratings estimated from police reported crash data: 2007 update Australian and New Zealand crashes during 1987-2005

Monash University Accident Research Centre - Report #266 [2007]

Authors: Newstead, S.V., Cameron, M.H. and Watson, L.M.

Full report in .pdf format [1.2MB] + supplement [452KB]

Abstract:

Crashworthiness ratings measure the relative safety of vehicles in preventing severe injury to their own drivers in crashes whilst aggressivity ratings measure the serious injury risk vehicles pose to drivers of other vehicles and unprotected road users such as pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists. Updated crashworthiness ratings and aggressivity ratings for 1982-2005 model vehicles were estimated based on data on crashes in Victoria and New South Wales during 1987-2005, in Queensland, Western Australia and New Zealand during 1991-2005 and in South Australia during 1995-2005. This update of the ratings included South Australian crash data for the first time. Both crashworthiness and aggressivity were measured by a combination of injury severity (the risk of death or serious injury given an injury was sustained) and injury risk (the risk of injury given crash involvement). The ratings were adjusted for the sex and age of the person whose injury outcome was being measured, speed limit at the crash location, the number of vehicles involved where relevant, the jurisdiction in which the crash occurred and the year in which the crash occurred. These factors were strongly related to injury risk and/or severity. In addition to the above factors the aggressivity rating was also adjusted for the type of other road user impacted as this factor was strongly related to injury severity and varied between vehicle models. The ratings estimate the risk of being killed or admitted to hospital when involved in a crash, to a degree of accuracy represented by the confidence limits of the rating in each case.

Crashworthiness estimates and their associated confidence limits were obtained for 381 vehicle models classified into 10 market groups. They were sufficiently sensitive that they were able to identify 180 models of passenger cars, four wheel drive vehicles, passenger vans and light commercial vehicles that have superior or inferior crashworthiness characteristics compared with the average vehicle. Aggressivity rating estimates and their associated confidence limits were obtained for 349 vehicle models and were sufficiently sensitive that they were able to identify 145 models of passenger cars, four wheel drive vehicles, passenger vans and light commercial vehicles that have superior or inferior aggressivity characteristics compared with the average vehicle.

The relationship between vehicle crashworthiness and the year of manufacture of Australian passenger and light commercial vehicles manufactured from 1964 to 2005 was also investigated. Trends were examined by year of manufacture both for the fleet as a whole and by market group for vehicles manufactured from 1982 to 2005.

The results of this report are based on a number of assumptions and warrant a number of qualifications that should be noted.

Sponsoring organisations - This project was funded as contract research by the following organisations: Road Traffic Authority of NSW, Royal Automobile Club of Victoria Ltd, NRMA Ltd, VicRoads, Royal Automobile Club of Western Australia Ltd, Transport Accident Commission and Land Transport New Zealand, the Road Safety Council of Western Australia, the New Zealand Automobile Association, Queensland Transport, Royal Automobile Club of Queensland, Royal Automobile Association of South Australia and by a grant from the Australian Transport Safety Bureau