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Purchase Cars with Head Protecting Side Air Bags

6 December 2005

Motorists Urged to Purchase Cars with Head Protecting Side Air Bags

The AA and Land Transport New Zealand are urging motorists to purchase car models with head protecting side airbags following the latest round of Australasian crash testing.

“Accident research shows that these devices halve the chance of fatal or serious head injuries when a car is involved in a severe side impact with objects such as poles or trees,” says AA General Manager – Technical Stella Stocks.

The Australasian New Car Assessment Programme (ANCAP) crash tests new cars to measure how safe they’ll be in a crash and provide consumers with valuable information on the occupant protection performance of new vehicles.

The AA and Land Transport NZ are both members of ANCAP. The latest ANCAP round put the Toyota Kluger 4WD with side head protecting airbags to the test. The same crash tests were conducted on the Toyota Yaris by the European New Car Assessment Program (EuroNCAP).

The Toyota Kluger 4WD with side head protecting airbags scored 4 out of 5 stars and the newly released Toyota Yaris fitted with optional side head protecting airbags scored 5 out of 5 stars.

“It is great to see the Toyota Yaris, which is at the more affordable end of the small car market, scoring the top mark, 5 stars,” says Ms Stocks.

Other vehicles fitted with head protecting side airbags which are available on the Australasian market were recently tested by EuroNCAP. The Mercedes A class, Citroën C4, Lexus GS300 and BMW 3 series scored 5 out of 5 stars, and the Suzuki Swift and Smart Forfour, scored 4 stars.

EuroNCAP also tested the Opel/Holden Tigra, which is not fitted with head protecting side airbags. The Tigra scored 4 out of 5 stars.

“With the increasing proportion of overall passenger fatalities resulting from a car's side impact with poles and trees, the inclusion of head protection in a car is extremely important to reduce the risk of head injuries to passengers,” says Land Transport NZ Manager Safer Vehicles, John White.

The crash test procedures involve a frontal test at 64 km/h where part of the vehicle hits a barrier, and a side impact test at 50 km/h. The vehicles also undergo a test to assess likely injuries caused to pedestrians by a vehicle travelling at 40 km/h.

A pole test is optional, where the vehicle travelling sideways at 29 km/h strikes a round pole lined up with the driver’s head. This measures the effectiveness of the head protecting side airbags and can result in extra points being scored.

ANCAP is supported by all New Zealand and Australian motoring clubs, the New Zealand government and all Australian state governments, and the FIA (Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile) Foundation.

ENDS

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