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ANCAP launches official car safety app

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See how safe a car is before you make your purchase.

ANCAP (Australasia New Car Assessment Program) has released the ANCAP app, letting you check the ANCAP safety ratings of new cars and compare vehicle safety ratings side by side.

A world of increasingly safe cars may have made it difficult to compare safety in detail. As you can see, it takes a bit of work to find a new vehicle with a safety rating under 4 stars. Pick a relatively new car at random at there's a better than even chance of it enjoying a 5-star safety rating.

To help make it easier, the app might provide more detailed information about a car's safety performance and includes features to help facilitate vehicle comparisons:

  • Safety ratings search. Look around the ANCAP database to find rating for a range of new and used car models in Australia and New Zealand.
  • Compare safety ratings. Compare the safety ratings for up to 3 cars at a time, including your current car against others.
  • Crash log. If you have a crash, the app has the steps to follow and a place to do it.
  • Record your notes. If you're in the market, make notes on cars you're comparing so they stick in your mind. You can store photos next to your notes to jog your memory.
  • Receive ANCAP notifications. Stay on top of car releases, safety news, new features and similar.
  • Store the relevant details. Save your motoring information, including driver's license, vehicle details, insurance info, motoring club membership number and more, all in one place.

"Getting Australians to drive the safest car they can afford will help to reduce road trauma and by checking this app, vehicle buyers will be better informed before they make their choice," said Darren Chester, the federal minister for infrastructure and transport.

"Safer vehicles are a vital element of the Safe Systems approach to road safety and the Australian Government is proud to share this important new tool to enhance the safety of all Australian road users."

"The app is a useful tool for those looking to buy a new car as it provides a wealth of safety information at their fingertips," said ANCAP Chief Executive Officer, Mr James Goodwin.

ANCAP car safety ratings involve a battery of tests, including:

  • The frontal offset test: A car is crashed into a crushable aluminium barrier at 64km/h at an angle so that 40% of the vehicle on the driver's side takes the hit. The test uses dummies of two adults in the front seats, with two appropriately restrained dummies of an 18-month and 3-year-old child in the backseat.
  • Side impact test: To simulate a collision of two cars at 90 degrees, a 950kg trolley with a crushable aluminium face is impacted with the side of the test car at 50km/h.
  • Pedestrian test: This tests how dangerous a vehicle is to pedestrians, by crashing its test variant into adult and child dummies at 40km/h.
  • Pole test: The test car is launched sideways into a pole, lined up with the driver's seat, at 29km/h.
  • Whiplash test: The car is put on a sled and abruptly launched forwards to simulate the vehicle being rear-ended at 32km/h.

If you want to know how a car fares in these tests before buying, the app might have the answers. But other than the admittedly important crash log and place to store your driving info, it might not be too useful once you've driven away in a new vehicle.

If you want real-time traffic apps, petrol station price finders and vehicle diagnostics, you'll still need to download separate apps.

However, as a potentially still more accurate system than the fairly-obtuse star ratings, this app might find its way onto your car buying checklist.

In car news

Picture: Shutterstock

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