Australia’s three vehicle crash-test laboratories are being upgraded.

Federal Transport Minister Darren Chester reviewed the enhancements being made at the laboratories used by the independent vehicle-safety authority, the Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) to assess the safety of new vehicles.

Upgrades to the ANCAP test regimen include the introduction of new crash tests and improvements to existing ones, as well as the first-ever performance testing of automated safety technologies such as autonomous emergency braking and active lane-support systems.

This involves the acquisition of advanced crash-test dummies, including child dummies, to obtain more realistic injury risk data; pedestrian, cyclist and vehicle targets; and test barrier and trolley modifications.

“A critical part of this is ensuring the local test laboratories…are fully equipped and ready to test to the world’s best standards,” Chester says in a statement.

He says Australia must keep embracing new technology. “A safer vehicle may turn a potentially serious injury into a minor one, reduce pain and suffering, and save the health budget millions of dollars in follow-up treatment.”

Chester says reducing road trauma involves safer drivers on safer roads in the safest car people can afford, and driving at a speed to suit the conditions.

“Younger drivers, in particular, need to understand the benefits of purchasing the safest car in their price range, and a program of continuous vehicle testing helps to keep customers well‐informed,” he says.

ANCAP CEO James Goodwin says 88% of all new cars sold in Australia hold a 5-star ANCAP safety rating. But, he says, “There is a lot more that can be done to enhance the level of safety and build consumer confidence in automated safety technologies.”