Impacts of Changing Used Import Vehicle Volumes on Australian and New Zealand Vehicle Fleet Safety: Supplement to Report No. 334

Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned ReportOther


There are potentially important safety effects of increasing or decreasing sales of used imported vehicles in Australia and New Zealand. Approximately half of the current New Zealand light passenger fleet originated as used vehicles from overseas. Australia currently has a used import program managed under the Commonwealth Government concessional vehicle scheme: used imports currently constitute less than 2% of the total vehicle imports annually. As a proportion of the licensed fleet, concessional vehicles make up a mere 0.2%. This paper uses estimates of the safety of such vehicles in Australia and New Zealand compared to those sold new to predict safety effects of policies around vehicle importation. Compared to business-as-usual, several scenarios were tested to inform policy considerations. Using New Zealand fleet data 2003-2014 decoded into vehicle clusters and identified according to origin (sold new or imported used), both primary and secondary safety were assessed. For Australia, data on crashed drivers, their injuries and vehicles driven were analysed from Police reported crash data for the years 2008-2012 for Western Australia, South Australia, New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria. This dataset also identified concessional imports. Data from 2012 was used as the baseline crash year in modelling safety effects of scenarios. For the New Zealand fleet, for any given year of manufacture and market group, there was little difference in the safety of vehicles according to their origin. So merely changing the proportions of used imported vehicles in the fleet of a given age would have little effect on safety per se. If, however, there were other effects from reducing access to used imports, such as increased motorcycle usage, there could be significant reductions in safety. For Australia, expanding the used import program effectively increased the average age of the fleet, with secondary safety deteriorating under the scenarios tested with estimated increases in deaths and serious injuries between 4% with a 100-fold increase in the number of concessional vehicles and 15% if the majority of vehicles were concessional. Analysis showed that it would be possible to theoretically reduce serious road trauma by up to 13% through a used vehicle import program but only if used imports were restricted to only the very safest vehicles available which is unlikely to be achievable.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationMelbourne Vic Australia
PublisherMonash University
Commissioning bodyVehicle Safety Research Group
Number of pages7
ISBN (Print)9781925413045
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2016


  • Road safety
  • used vehicles
  • used imports
  • light passenger fleet
  • concessional vehicles
  • primary safety
  • secondary safety
  • crash data
  • safety effects
  • injury
  • statistics

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