Crash test between a 1998 Toyota Corolla and the latest model shows how technology has advanced in 20 years.
ROAD safety experts have renewed calls for teens and elderly drivers to get behind the wheel of newer cars after an unprecedented crash test between new and old Toyota Corollas showed how far technology has advanced in 20 years.
The independent authority Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) this week conducted a head-on crash test between the latest Toyota Corolla hatchback and a 1998 model — with graphic results.
The test showed the driver of the older Corolla would likely have died as a result of the 64km/h collision, whereas the driver of the latest Corolla — which has a five-star safety rating — would have sustained minor injuries.
Figures show older vehicles (built in the year 2000 or earlier) only represent one in five cars on our roads — but are involved in one-third of fatal crashes.
The data shows the average age of all vehicles on Australian roads is 9.8 years — but the average age of vehicles involved in fatal crashes is 12.9 years (up from an average of 12.5 years six months ago).
The figures go some way to explaining why deaths of 17 to 25-year-olds and elderly road users (those aged 65 and over) are over-represented in fatal crashes when compared to other age groups.
“Not everyone can afford a brand-new car however, the figures show that there is less chance of being killed in a newer and safer car than an older and less safe vehicle,” said the boss of ANCAP, James Goodwin.
“Motorists should buy the safest car they can afford,” said Mr Goodwin.
The president of the Australasian College of Road Safety, and former chairman of ANCAP, Lauchlan McIntosh, said: “No one has a 1998 telephone — not a young person or an old person — so why would you have a 1998 car?”.
“There are a lot of people who have made a conscious decision to put their kids in a better car, and a lot of older people buy a five-star car — but there are still a lot of young people who, unfortunately, don’t see a five-star car as important but they’ve got the latest telephone.”
The ANCAP website ancap.com.au lists the crash safety rating of more than 620 cars built since 2004.
The Toyota Corollas used in the crash test were bought privately by ANCAP from car dealers, and the test was conducted this week at Sydney’s CrashLab.
The 1998 Corolla was a one-owner vehicle with a good service history that had travelled 130,000km and had never been involved in a crash, so was structurally indicative of a car from that era.
The latest model Corolla was an ex rental car that had done 29,000km, indicative of near-new used cars for sale.
CAR SAFETY: THEN AND NOW
1998 Toyota Corolla
Price when new: $23,000
Price today: $4500
Safety: No driver’s airbag, no antiskid brakes (they were part of a $990 option pack).
2015 Toyota Corolla
Priced when new: $23,000
Price today: $16,000
Safety: Seven airbags, electronic stability control, antiskid brakes, rear view camera, force limiting seatbelts, seatbelt pre-tensioners. Automatic emergency braking optional.
This reporter is on Twitter: @JoshuaDowling