The Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) has thrown its support behind a federal parliamentary speech on the reduction of road trauma.
Federal Member for Gippsland and Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Roads and Regional Transport, Darren Chester, told parliament “more needs to be done to help reduce the enormous impact of road trauma on our nation”.
“The total annual cost of road trauma in economic terms is $27 billion, with 25 people dying and 600 people being seriously injured each week in Australia,” Mr Chester said, during his speech.
“Yes, we have made dramatic gains in the past, but it is time to reset the clock and bring on a new wave of reform with new energy and enthusiasm for the task of lowering the road toll.”
The focus of Mr Chester’s speech then shifted to cars with a poor ANCAP safety rating.
“It is my personal view that we should ban the importation of any vehicle sold in volume which does not achieve a minimum three- or, preferably, four-star ANCAP safety rating,” Mr Chester said.
“Right now, we have vehicles on sale in Australia that the federal government would not let any public servant drive but that we are allowing to be imported and driven on our roads.”
“If they are not good enough for Australian public servants, then they are not good enough for Australian families. We should give the manufacturers fair warning and ban the importation of these vehicles as soon as possible.”
Mr Chester targeted imported cars in his speech, saying that all vehicles manufactured in Australia already met high safety standards. He also pointed out that some carmakers were slow to introduce safety improvements on models sold in Australia.
ANCAP CEO Nicholas Clarke agreed, saying that some new cars on the Australian market were lacking safety features already fitted to overseas models.
"In the period 2007-2011, there was a 21% reduction in deaths on Australian roads and some of this reduction inevitably will be due to safer cars,” Mr Clarke said.
“If we are to achieve another similarly big reduction in road trauma then it is vital that Australia maintains pace with developments in new safety assist technology.”
As the federal election looms, there is every chance that some of the ideas in Mr Chester’s speech could become law if the Coalition wins government.