Potential for improving the relationship between ANCAP ratings and real world data derived crashworthiness ratings
Safer Vehicles is a cornerstone of the Safe Systems approach to road safety. The Australasian New Car Assessment Program is one of the premier programs under the safer vehicles banner. It aims to improve the safety of new vehicles entering the fleet through identifying objective design and performance criteria for manufacturers to improve vehicle safety and publishing information on the relative performance of vehicles in meeting these criteria for consumer information to encourage safer vehicle purchases. Numerous studies have been conducted internationally comparing the ability of the vehicle safety rating summary used by ANCAP to predict vehicle crashworthiness performance in real world crashes. Although many of the studies have been able to show an association between the ANCAP rating and real world vehicle crashworthiness, the correlation between the two measures is far from perfect. In practice, this means that many vehicles that score well under the current ANCAP scoring system will not necessarily exhibit superior crashworthiness in real world crashes thus diluting the effectiveness of ANCAP as a tool for driving the Safe Systems process. This paper presents the results of an analysis which re-weights the ANCAP crash test elements into an overall score to significantly improve the relationship with relative vehicle crashworthiness estimated from real world crash data. Both positive and negative potential implications of adopting the proposed modified scoring system are discussed along with how these relate to vehicle safety policy and strategy.