Trends in Crashworthiness of the New Zealand Fleet by Year of Manufacture: 1964 - 2017: Supplement to Report 338 - Vehicle safety Ratings estimated from Police-Reported Crash Data: 2019 Update

Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned ReportOther


Crashworthiness is an estimate of the occupant protection provided by a vehicle, namely the risk of a driver of a vehicle being killed or admitted to hospital when involved in a crash. This project further investigated the relationship between vehicle crashworthiness and both the year of manufacture and the year of first registration in New Zealand. Analysis was based on New Zealand light passenger vehicles manufactured from 1964 to 2017 and crashing during 1991 to 2017. Analysis by year of first registration in New Zealand was aimed at assessing crashworthiness trends in the fleet of used imported vehicles in New Zealand whilst analysis by year of manufacture examined trends in the fleet as a whole. Crashworthiness was measured by a combination of injury severity (of injured drivers) and injury risk (of drivers involved in crashes). The ratings were adjusted for the sex and age of the driver, the speed limit at the crash location, the number of vehicles involved in the crash and the year in which the crash occurred. The crashworthiness rating estimates the risk of the driver being killed or admitted to hospital when involved in a crash, to a degree of accuracy represented by the confidence limits of the rating in each case.

Analysis of trends by year of vehicle manufacture showed statistically significant improvement in the crashworthiness of New Zealand light passenger vehicles over the years of manufacture studied. The most rapid improvement occurred over the years of manufacture from 1983 to 2007. Over this period, the risk of death or serious injury to drivers reduced by almost 77% for the fleet as a whole. During this period vehicle safety in New Zealand was affected by several competing effects: a general increase in both active and passive safety features in vehicles; increasing proportions of used imported vehicles entering the New Zealand fleet; and increases in the regulation of vehicle safety standards by the New Zealand Government.

Estimates of crashworthiness trends in the used import vehicle fleet by year of first registration in New Zealand from 1986 to 2017 showed improved crashworthiness of the used import fleet over these years. A differential in apparent safety between the new and used imported vehicles was identified along with a suggestions of worsening crashworthiness for new vehicles sold in recent years and continues to need careful monitoring. The results of this report are based on a number of assumptions and warrant a number of qualifications that should be noted.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationMelbourne Vic Australia
PublisherMonash University
Number of pages53
ISBN (Print)9781925413083
Publication statusPublished - 4 Sept 2019

Publication series

NameMUARC Report Series
Volume338 Supplement
ISSN (Electronic)1835-4815


  • Injury
  • Vehicle Occupant
  • Collision
  • Passenger Car Unit
  • Passive Safety System
  • Statistics

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