Euro NCAP is changing crash safety ratings – to do more to safeguard pedestrians.

Cars are getting safer – for drivers and passengers. But Europe-wide safety organisation Euro NCAP says too little is being done to safeguard pedestrians. Buyers focus on occupant protection and pay too little heed of how cars perform in accidents involving pedestrians.

Organisation secretary-general Michiel van Ratingen says that, from next year, Euro NCAP will change its rating system to increase the emphasis on this area of crash protection. At present , each car gets a rating for adult occupant protection, another for child passengers, and a third for protection. Many new models protect those inside well but only a minority gain high scores for reducing pedestrian injury risks.

From February, Euro NCAP will change its ratings for new tests, to give one score that reflects a car’s overall safety performance. Scores already published for existing cars will remain as they are, however.

And, for the first time, the scores will take account of driver safety aids such as electronic stability control, which helps prevent a car skidding if its driver makes a mistake. The adult occupant protection score will also, for the first time, include an assessment of the car’s ability to protect in ‘whiplash’ accidents – where vehicles are hit from the rear.

Of the test results Euro NCAP has just released, Daihatsu’s Cuore supermini scored four stars for occupant protection, while Hyundai’s i30 small hatchback scored five, as did Renault’s Koleos off-roader and Mercedes latest M-class 4×4. Five stars is the maximum. However, none scored more than two stars (out of four) for pedestrian protection, and the M-class scored only one star.

Stephen Jury


September 2, 2008

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