Retrospective and Prospective Changes in Secondary Safety of The Australian and New Zealand Vehicle Fleets and The Potential Influence of New Vehicle Safety Technologies

Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned ReportResearch


Safety of the vehicle fleet is a function of both secondary safety (the ability of vehicles to protect their occupants and minimise harm to other road users) and primary safety (arising from crash avoidance safety features). This project estimated the impact of improvements in secondary safety of the Australian and New Zealand vehicle fleets on fatalities over the years 2000 to 2010 and projected the future benefits expected to 2020 under two scenarios: business as usual (where secondary safety improvements continue following current trends) and stalled safety (where secondary safety ceases to improve in vehicles manufactured in the future). The future safety effects of primary safety improvements in the fleets were estimated resulting from increased fitment of existing and emerging new technologies: Electronic Stability Control (ESC); Autonomous Emergency Braking Systems (AEBS); Fatigue Warning Systems (FWS); Lane Departure Warning Systems (LDWS); and Lane Change Warning Systems (LCWS). Over the years 2000 to 2010, the average crashworthiness of the Australian light vehicle fleet has improved by 27% representing a saving of around 2,000 deaths over the time period. Improvement in the crashworthiness of the New Zealand fleet has also been significant with an improvement in average crashworthiness of 18%. This equates to a saving of 313 lives over 2000-2010. The estimated saving in fatal and serious injuries through projected future improvement in secondary safety of the Australian light vehicle fleet in 2020 compared to 2010 was between 950 and 1,470 resulting from improvements in secondary safety of 25%-38%. The corresponding fatal and serious injury improvements in the New Zealand fleet from 2010 to 2020 were estimated to be between 18%-20% leading to aggregate savings of 1,002 fatal and serious casualties to light passenger vehicle occupants. The results of this study provide a basis for prioritising crash avoidance technologies with the greatest potential. All of the technologies considered offer the potential for future crash savings. Autonomous Emergency Braking Systems (AEBS) and ESC were the technologies offering the greatest road trauma savings and were most cost effective although the likely benefits are less than that predicted from secondary safety improvements.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationMelbourne Vic Australia
PublisherMonash University
Commissioning bodyVehicle Safety Research Group
Number of pages187
ISBN (Electronic)0732623995
Publication statusPublished - May 2015

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