The Safe Vehicles programme, led by Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency, delivers on the Government’s Road to Zero strategy. Road to Zero sets out a vision of a New Zealand where no one is killed or seriously injured in a road crash and includes vehicle safety as one of five key priorities.
Vehicle safety has been prioritised as major gains in road safety can be achieved by improving the safety of the vehicles that people currently drive. Safe vehicles not only help drivers avoid crashes, but also protect occupants and other road users when crashes do happen.
Safety ratings indicate the likely performance of your vehicle in a crash, from 1 to 5 stars. The New Zealand light vehicle fleet currently has a high proportion of 1 and 2-star safety-rated vehicles (41%) that provide little protection to occupants in the event of a crash.
People are twice as likely to die or be seriously injured in a crash in a 1 or 2-star than in a 5-star vehicle, and two out of three death and serious injury crashes in New Zealand involve 1 and 2-star vehicles.
Currently, only 27% of customers who recently purchased or looked to purchase a vehicle know the current safety rating for their vehicle and what it means. Most people think that having a current Warrant of Fitness (WoF) or safety features like airbags are a proxy for a “safe car”.
A WoF provides a snapshot in time of a vehicle’s roadworthiness at the point of inspection, and individual safety features contribute to a vehicle’s safety performance but don’t indicate overall crash performance. A safe vehicle is both roadworthy and crashworthy, which means it’s safe to be driven on the road and performs well in a crash situation – indicated by a current WoF and a high safety rating.
The Transport Agency has previously displayed safety ratings on the Rightcar
website and at the time only 65% of vehicles had a safety rating available. The incomplete information meant many visitors to Rightcar
were unable to find a safey rating for their vehicle, which reduced the engagement with the site. More vehicle safety ratings needed to be added to Rightcar
before the site and the safety ratings system became a trusted source of vehicle safety information.
An integrated Safe Vehicles programme has been developed which includes an advertising campaign directed at car buyers, a refreshed website which includes safety ratings for around 95% of vehicles (up from 65%), and training of motor vehicle dealers to upskill them on vehicle safety ratings.
A national advertising campaign encourages people to prioritise safety in any vehicle purchasing decision they make. The campaign will be targeting all people who own a vehicle, with a particular focus on consumers who are actively looking to buy a new or used vehicle. Approximately 800,000 vehicles change hands each year. We need to build awareness of safety ratings, convince this audience that safety is important, and that they should buy a vehicle with the highest safety rating in their price range. The campaign directs consumer to the updated Rightcar website
to search for the current safety rating for any vehicle. The website provides information which helps vehicle buyers choose safer, cleaner, and more economical vehicles.
Design changes to the site have enhanced the user experience and make safety ratings more prominent. Consumers can search for their vehicle (or a vehicle they’re looking to buy) and find information such as safety, fuel economy and carbon emission ratings. They’re also able to compare vehicles and their ratings side by side. Information on the Rightcar
site has also been refreshed to include a new safety rating system, the Vehicle Safety Risk Rating (VSRR). This was originally used by ACC to determine vehicle licensing levies. With this new rating information, 95% of vehicles will now have a safety rating available on the Rightcar
website, which is expected to increase engagement.
To keep motor vehicle dealers up-to-date, an online training module for industry members has been developed. This outlines what vehicle safety ratings are, the importance of safety ratings and why dealers’ customers should buy vehicles with high safety ratings. Additional dealer resources are available within the Rightcar
website, which is being promoted as the trusted source of current vehicle safety ratings to industry representatives as well as members of the public.
The Transport Agency is also working with a number of industry stakeholders to ensure safety information is available at as many touchpoints on the customer journey as possible. TradeMe currently displays safety ratings on their vehicle for sale pages, and over the coming months we’ll be announcing other places safety ratings information will be made available to consumers.
The Advertising Campaign
The new campaign introduces the tagline The more stars, the safer the car
and will launch on Sunday 16 February 2020. The campaign comprises television, radio, print and online advertising. Advertising will also be displayed in mechanics, vehicle dealer outlets and other relevant point-of-sale locations. In addition to this, an interactive animated safety simulator has been developed to visually depict the occupant protection zone and show the risk that lower safety-rated vehicles pose for occupants; users can scroll through the star-ratings from a 1 to a 5-star car and see how the occupant protection in a crashed vehicle varies depending on its star-safety rating.
You can view the video advertising here
and keep up-to-date with all new campaign material by accessing this page of the NZ Transport Agency website
. Vehicle safety ratings can be checked at www.rightcar.govt.nz