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The Relative Age Related Crashworthiness of the Registered South Australian Passenger Vehicle Fleet.
In this paper, the crashworthiness of passenger vehicles in South Australia is characterised. For this purpose, crashworthiness is defined as the rate of serious and fatal crashes per crash of any severity. The relationship between this rate and the ages of passenger vehicles is used to characterise and compare the crashworthiness of the South Australian registered passenger vehicle fleet and the fleets of other Australian jurisdictions. The mean age of passenger vehicles registered in South Australia is around 11.2 years compared with 9.9 years for the entire Australian registered passenger vehicle fleet and 9.3 years for registered passenger vehicles of New South Wales. Based on these mean vehicle ages, tow-away crashes in South Australia have a 3% over-representation of seriously injured or killed drivers compared with the national average (assuming a crashworthiness decline of 2.53% per year of vehicle age).
Analysis of only those vehicles that crash, confirm these estimates and suggest an over-representation of 3.5%. Young drivers appear to be doubly disadvantaged in that they have a higher rate of serious and fatal crashes for a given vehicle age, and they tend to crash vehicles that are much older than the vehicles crashed by drivers over 25 years of age. Despite this, the benefits of fleet renewal on average age-related crashworthiness are relatively modest and it may be more fruitful to encourage the safest new car fleet now so that road safety benefits can be realised in 10-15 years time. In the mean time, removal of impediments to younger drivers who would otherwise drive newer and safer cars could be considered.