What is UCSR?

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Used Car Safety Ratings (UCSR’s) help you to identify safer second hand cars.

The latest UCSR are based on statistics collected from car crashes in Australia and New Zealand between 1990 and 2013, where someone was killed or seriously injured. Over seven million police reported crashes were analysed in the latest UCSR.

The ratings reflect the relative safety of vehicles in preventing severe injury to people involved in crashes. The ratings include driver protection (crashworthiness) and protection for other road users (aggressivity). Driver protection ratings indicate the relative safety of vehicles in preventing severe injury to their own drivers in the event of a crash whilst protection for other road user ratings indicate how well the vehicle protects other road users with which they collide. 

HowSafeIsYourCar.com.au displays the driver protection rating and protection for other road users ratings. As far as possible, the ratings reflect safety performance related to vehicle design alone by controlling for a range of non-vehicle related factors known to affect injury outcome, such as, sex, age, speed limit and number of vehicles involved. The ratings were also adjusted for the type of crash and road user combination. 

Some of the assumptions and qualifications about the crash records and methodology used include:

  • TAC claims records and Victorian, New South Wales, South Australian, Western Australian, Queensland and New Zealand Police crash report recorded driver injury, hospitalisation and death with the same degree of accuracy for each vehicle make and model
  • there was no bias in the merging of TAC claims and Victorian Police crash reports related to the model of car and factors affecting the severity of the crash 
  • crashed vehicle registration numbers were recorded accurately on Police crash reports and that they correctly identified the crashed vehicles in the Victorian, New South Wales, South Australian, Queensland, Western Australian and New Zealand vehicle registers 
  • the adjustments for driver sex, age, speed zone, the number of vehicles involved and the state and year in which the crash occurred removed the influences of the other main factors available in the data, that affected crash severity and injury susceptibility 
  • the form of the logistic models used to relate injury risk and injury severity with the available factors influencing these outcomes (including the car model, market group or year of manufacture) was correct 
  • Information contained in the Police crash records allowed accurate matching of both vehicles involved in crashes between two passenger cars and vehicles impacting unprotected road users for the purpose of calculating aggressivity ratings and total secondary safety ratings.
  • only driver crash involvements and injuries have been considered. Passengers occupying the same model cars may have had different injury outcomes. In 95% of crashes the driver of the vehicle is the most seriously injured occupant hence justifying the focus on driver protection 
  • some models with the same name through the 1982-2013 years of manufacture may have varied substantially in their construction, specification and mass. Although there should be few such models in these updated results, the rating score calculated for these models represent an average across the variants aggregated. There may be significant variation in secondary safety performance across the aggregated models 
  • other factors not collected in the data (e.g. crash impact severity) may differ between the models and may affect the results. However, earlier analysis has suggested that the different rating scores are predominantly due to vehicle factors alone 

For further information check out the full report.

The UCSR research project is funded by the following organisations:

Transport for NSW, Royal Automobile Club of Victoria, NRMA Motoring and Services, VicRoads, Royal Automobile Club of Western Australia, Transport Accident Commission, New Zealand Transport Agency, the New Zealand Automobile Association, Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads, Royal Automobile Club of Queensland, Royal Automobile Association of South Australia, South Australian Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure, Accident Compensation Corporation New Zealand and by grants from the Australian Government Department of Infrastructure and Transport and the Road Safety Commission of Western Australia.

To find the UCSR rating for your car use the Find my Car search feature  or view 2015 UCSR Guide (pdf 4mb)or view previous years UCSR brochures.

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