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Secondhand danger: Old cars increase risk for younger drivers

According to an article in the Sydney Morning Herald NSW’s youngest and most at-risk drivers are continuing to drive vehicles older than 10 years, which tests have shown may quadruple their chances of being killed or seriously injured in a crash.

Around 45 per cent of those who died were driving vehicles at least 15 years old. P1 drivers – the first stage of NSW provisional drivers licensing system – represent 3 per cent of the 6 million drivers on NSW roads, but more than 20 per cent of all fatalities.

“You can clearly see there is a strong association with younger drivers with a higher proportion of fatalities coming from older vehicles,” senior researcher Andrew Graham told a road safety seminar last week.

“That’s a reflection of putting the worst risk taking, the worst experienced drivers in the worst performing crash vehicles,”

Nearly 80 per cent of young drivers under 20 who died and 71 per cent of those who seriously injured in car crashes on the state’s roads in the past five years were driving cars older than 10 years, an expert from the NSW Centre for Road Safety told a seminar of safety experts last week.

Parents often bought young drivers small cars, yet young drivers in heavier cars were better protected – and had about 40 per cent fewer deaths or serious injuries – than those in smaller vehicles, according to a study in the safety journal Injury Prevention.

Electronic stability control (ESC) – only available in newer vehicles – halved the risk of having a single-vehicle crash risk and prevented loss of control which was more common among young drivers.

The latest NSW research was consistent with national data showing drivers of older cars, made before 2000, were four times more likely to die than those in a new car, said James Goodwin, the chief executive of the independent car safety ratings group ANCAP.

Vehicles older than 15 years of age accounted for about a third of all crashes by drivers of all age groups.

Contrary to what many families thought, it was possible to find a car for less than $10,000 with five star ratings.

Mr Goodwin recommended that parents should spend a bit more to buy the safest vehicle for their new driver with both ESC and side air bags if possible.

“Everyone says I am good driver, and I won’t need these features. But ESC may reduce the speed, or help regain control in the wet or on the ice, or if a kangaroo jumps out on the road,” he said

Please read the full article on the SMH website HERE>>

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