Some new stricter rules for side impact crash testing for passenger cars and light commercial vehicles will soon be implemented in Australia.
The Australian Government has announced a new Australian Design Rule (ADR) for pole side impact performance will commence for new model light passenger vehicles on 1 November 2017 and light commercial vehicles on 1 July 2018. The new ADR is in line with the United Nations Global Technical Regulation (GTR) 14. Initiated by Australia at the United Nations’ 150th session of the World Forum for Harmonization of Vehicle Regulations in 2010, the new regulation is intended to reduce the high number of fatalities that occur in side impacts with narrow objects. The new GTR 14 was developed over five years, under Australia’s chairmanship, to bring uniformity to the varied crash testing methods and technologies used around the world in regulation and in voluntary standards. In Australia, side impact crashes account for 28 percent of fatalities on the road and 25 percent of injuries. According to the Monash University Accident Research Centre, which worked with the Australian Department of Infrastructure to propose the new regulation, vehicles equipped with airbags for the side, head and thorax brought a 51 percent improvement in survivability.
Governments involved in the GTR’s creation include Canada, China, the European Commission, France, Germany, Japan, the Netherlands, South Korea, the UK and the US, but Australia is the first to introduce the regulation. The new regulation has been also endorsed by the Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP). “Australia should be proud of its international leadership to develop this global regulation which will improve occupant protection in side impact crashes such as hitting a tree at the side of the road,” ANCAP CEO James Goodwin said. ANCAP has required side impact testing in order for vehicles to be eligible for a 5-star safety rating since 2003, which Goodwin said has motivated carmakers to increase fitment of curtain airbags.
Thanks in part to this new regulation, the minimum requirements for satisfying ANCAP’s side impact test will soon become even tougher. “We work to continually raise the safety bar in the vehicle fleet and will modify the pole side impact test from 2018 to make it more demanding for new vehicles to be able to earn a 5-star safety rating,” Goodwin said.