South Africa’s Automobile Association (AA) has called for the implementation of a local vehicle safety ratings scale.
The association said earlier this month that such a ratings scale would ensure consumers had a better understanding of the safety of the vehicle they intended purchasing.
“Local consumers rarely have access to information on the safety ratings of the cars they are buying. “For us, it is critical that it becomes mandatory for a sticker to be placed on the windscreen of a vehicle telling buyers what the safety rating of that vehicle is, in the same way that a sticker is used to display the emissions rating of a vehicle.
“Safety on South African roads remains elusive. Our road fatality statistics are proof of this. “A key pillar of dealing with this is making sure motorists are driving safe vehicles, and the introduction of a safety ratings scale locally is one step in the right direction.”
The call for a South African safety ratings scale comes as Europe celebrates the twentieth anniversary of the European New Car Assessment Programme (Euro NCAP), a ratings system whereby vehicles are rated based on an assessment in four areas, namely adult protection (for the driver and passenger), child protection, pedestrian protection, and safety-assist technologies.
Ratings can vary from one star to five. A five-star rating is given to a vehicle regarded as one of the safest vehicles on the road in the event of a crash.
According to Euro NCAP, more than 78 000 lives have been saved since its crash safety tests were launched 20 years ago.
To date, Euro NCAP has published over 630 safety ratings, crash-testing some 1 800 vehicle models.
“The first tests exposed safety failings in top-selling family cars, forcing a fundamental rethink in the way vehicles were designed, in order to prevent accidents and save lives. “Twenty years on, nine out of ten cars sold on the European market hold a Euro NCAP rating and the motor industry actively supports the development of new requirements for top safety ratings,” Euro NCAP said in a statement.
Safety technologies that were nonexistent, or optional, 20 years ago – such as driver and passenger airbags, side protection airbags, belt reminders and electronic stability control – are now standard on all cars sold in Europe.
“Next year, we will test systems that recognise and avoid crashes with cyclists. “We are lining up a very challenging roadmap for 2020 to 2025,” Euro NCAP noted.