Continuous improvements in vehicle design and the incorporation of new technologies over the years have dramatically improved the safety of vehicles and the ability of occupants to survive a crash. Road fatality statistics show that in many countries you are today 5 times more likely to survive a serious automobile accident compared with 40 years ago.
If a vehicle's safety systems have been damaged and not repaired/not repaired correctly, or have been modified they may not protect the vehicle's occupants as they have been designed to do.
Below is a list of the main safety components in a vehicle today:
- Seatbelts- responsible for saving more lives than any other single safety component.
- Airbags- front airbags are considered standard today, with side curtain becoming more common.
- Crumple Zones- these areas in the front and rear of the vehicle are designed to crumple and absorb the force of impact in a collision.
- Reinforced Occupant Compartment- designed so that roof pillars, floor panels, engine and firewall do not breach the occupant compartment. The last line of defence to protect the occupants.
- Headrests- critical in preventing serious neck injury from whiplash. Should be fitted on all seats in the vehicle.
- ESC (Electronic Stability Control)- helps the driver maintain control of the vehicle especially in inclement weather conditions. Mandatory today to receive a 5 star safety rating.
JEVIC's NZTA (New Zealand Transport Agency) Border Inspection and Roadworthiness inspections are designed to identify areas that are a concern to safety with used vehicles.
ANCAP (Australasia New Car Assessment Program) recommends that consumers purchase a 4 or 5 star vehicle. An easily searchable star ratings for models as well as crash test video's are available on their website: www.ancap.com.au.