Vehicle safety ratings estimated from police-reported crash data: 2018 Update: Australian and New Zealand crashes during 1987-2016

Stuart Newstead, Linda Watson, Michael Keall, Max Cameron, Casey Rampollard

Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned Report


This study describes the calculation of updated ratings that measure the relative safety of vehicles in preventing severe injury to people involved in crashes. Three different aspects of secondary safety are examined: crashworthiness which focuses on drivers of the rated vehicle; aggressivity which focuses on drivers of other vehicles and unprotected road users such as pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists colliding with the rated vehicle; and total secondary safety which examines the combined crashworthiness and aggressivity performance of the rated vehicle. Updated ratings for 1982-2016 model vehicles were estimated based on data on crashes in Victoria, New South Wales, Queensland, Western Australia, New Zealand and South Australia during 1987-2016.

Crashworthiness estimates and their associated confidence limits were obtained for 681 vehicle models classified into ten market groups. Aggressivity rating estimates and their associated confidence limits were obtained for 594 vehicle models. The total secondary safety index estimates and their associated confidence limits were obtained for 729 vehicle models classified into ten market groups. This update of the vehicle safety ratings includes estimation of a vehicle primary safety (crash avoidance) index. Accurate vehicle primary safety ratings were estimated for 275 makes and models of vehicle.

A method for presenting the ratings for consumer information is also described. The rating presentation classifies vehicles according to where their rating lies in relation to a best performance benchmark.

The relationship between vehicle crashworthiness and the year of manufacture of Australian passenger and light commercial vehicles manufactured from 1964 to 2016 was also investigated. Trends were examined by year of manufacture both for the fleet as a whole and by market group for vehicles manufactured from 1982 to 2016.

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 PublicationClayton, Victoria, Australia
PublisherMonash University
Commissioning bodyTransport for NSW (New South Wales)
Number of pages347
ISBN (Print)9781925413052
Publication statusPublished - 19 Sep 2018

Publication series

NameMUARC Report Series
ISSN (Print)1835-4815


  • injury
  • vehicle occupant
  • collision
  • passenger car unit
  • passive safety system
  • statistics

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