Provision and Calibration of Vehicle Safety Measures

  • Newstead, Stuart (Primary Chief Investigator (PCI))
  • Keall, Michael D. (Chief Investigator (CI))

Project: Research

Project Details

Project Description

The New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) has a goal of providing consumer information on relative vehicle safety for as many light vehicles in the New Zealand fleet as possible. Through analysis of information presented on resources such as the RightCar web site, the NZTA has identified that approximately one third of the 3.3m New Zealand registered light vehicle fleet do not have either an ANCAP or Used Car Safety Rating (UCSR) that has been calculated specific to a make and model of vehicle. This means that there is around 1m vehicles for which NZTA cannot provide the consumer with highly specific information on its safety performance.
As part of administering the VRR scheme, the ACC has needed to assign safety performance to all vehicles in the NZ light vehicle fleet for the purposes of calculating the vehicle levy. Using various methods with differing level of specificity, all light vehicles on the New Zealand vehicle register have either a UCSR crashworthiness rating (CWR) or total secondary safety index (TSSI) as provided by Monash University Accident Research Centre (MUARC) for ACC under the VRR scheme. For two thirds of the vehicles, the CWR and TSSI is assigned by specific make and model of vehicle. For the remainder they are assigned based only on broad averages for the market group and year of manufacture of the vehicle or for a minority of cases just the year of manufacture of the vehicle when market group cannot be determined. Methodology developed for the ACC could provide a basis for the NZTA deriving safety information for the remaining third of vehicles that do not have specific information available. However, the Government has recently announced that ACC’s VRR scheme will come to an end at 30 June and thereafter all vehicles will have the same flat ACC levy regardless of safety. This means the VRR mechanism will no longer be publicly available to enable consumers to make an informed decision about the safety performance of a vehicle.
The Minister for the ACC signalled that they wanted officials to advise how the information used to derive the VRR could be used to improve vehicle safety. There was a strong desire from industry and NZTA to retain the VRR information as a way of informing consumers about the safety performance of their vehicle. NZTA believes that the TSSI may be a good rating to provide to consumers but should be in 5 bands (rather than the current 4) to align with the 5-band system of both ANCAP and UCSR ratings. Furthermore, there are questions about how the TSSI, which is about overall societal safety of the vehicle, can be used in conjunction with the CWR, which is about vehicle own occupant protection and the basis of the UCSR, can be used together to provide a combined and simple measure of vehicle safety for consumer use. Finally, NZTA wish to have a view of the safety performance of the light vehicle fleet in terms of crashworthiness ratings for the entire light fleet and for used imported vehicles.
Effective start/end date11/04/1931/07/19


  • road safety
  • light vehicle fleet
  • safety
  • crashes
  • New Zealand
  • safety ratings
  • crash data
  • Injury outcomes
  • fatal injuries
  • serious injuries
  • injury risk