Used Car Safety Ratings

The safety features present in a vehicle can have a large impact on occupant survivability in the event of a crash.

Provision of information on the relative safety of vehicles enables car buyers to select vehicles that are safer. Provision of this information has also resulted in competition between motor manufacturers, leading to overall improvements in vehicle safety.

In developed countries, new cars are tested for their relative safety (Australasian NCAP), and information also exists for many used cars. Information on used car safety exists from historical crash testing records from when vehicles were new. For example, the US NCAP ( website provides test information for the last 20 years, while the Euro NCAP (Euro NCAP) website provides information for over 10 years of crash testing.

Safety ratings can also be calculated based on the crash performance of a vehicle using police crash records. In an Australian initiative, vehicles received a rating for their crashworthiness and aggressivity. Crashworthiness was based on how well protected the driver was, while the aggressivity ratings were based on how badly hurt other road users were by the vehicle (RACV used car safety ratings).

The crashworthiness rating has shown that newer cars are safer than older cars which is probably due to improvements in the number and type of safety features and devices during the last 10-15 years. Aggressivity ratings have shown that, generally, it is the size of the vehicles that is the most important factor. Larger vehicles like four wheel drives (4WD) and commercial vehicles usually do the most damage to other road users.

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New Car Assessment Programs (NCAP) test new cars and give them a safety rating from one star (least safe) to five stars (safest).

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