ARSRPE Conference Paper Database

Motor Vehicle Safety Levels ? Considerations For Consumers In Used Vehicle Purchasing Decisions

King, Mark J., Spalding, Stephen (Peer reviewed)

Vehicle Safety


The Australasian New Car Assessment and the Used Car Safety Rating Programs are aimed at both promoting improvements in the level of vehicle safety in the Australian vehicle fleet and at providing information to consumers to enable them to select safer vehicles. However, the role of safety features in consumers? purchase decisions is not well understood, nor is the relative importance of different sources of vehicle safety information. This paper reports the preliminary findings of a survey involving around 175 participants that investigated a range of issues related to the purchase of a used vehicle, including the role of safety features in the purchasing decision and the relative use of sources of vehicle safety information. In particular, it discusses three assumptions: 1. The safety aspects of a vehicle are important to consumers - safety being ranked the joint fifth most important attribute in a prospective future used vehicle purchase. 2. Information from sources like ANCAP and UCSR will influence consumer perceptions of the safety aspects of particular vehicles ? nearly 90% of respondents were aware of independent crash testing of vehicles with awareness levels of the ANCAP and UCSR programs of over 46% and 20% respectively. 3. Consumers will seek out information on the safety aspects of vehicles - over half the respondents considered the advice from motoring clubs and magazine road tests on vehicle safety to be very useful while nearly 80% considered the seller of their last purchased vehicle did not inform them very well about its safety features. While these findings show there are encouraging signs of awareness of safety in vehicles, mixed results in other aspects show there are both significant challenges and opportunities ahead to communicate these benefits and encourage the purchase of safer vehicles.