The Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) has launched a new campaign that encourages car buyers to go for cars with the most modern safety features available. The crash safety outfit’s ‘Safer Vehicle Choices Saves Lives’ video depicts a ‘who would survive’ scenario, pitting a 1998 and 2015 Toyota Corolla head on to illustrate just how much passive safety has improved over two decades.

As you can clearly see in the video, the older Corolla sedan was almost obliterated in a head-on collision at 64 km/h, but the newer Corolla hatch fared much better, and the driver was put at a slight risk of lower-leg injuries. However, the report stated that the driver in the 1998 Corolla was at extremely high risk of serious head, chest and leg injuries, with ANCAP describing the accident as ‘unsurvivable’.

ANCAP boss James Goodwin said “this is the first campaign of its kind, where the vehicle is profiled as being the life-saving factor in a crash. Many road safety campaigns have tended to focus on behavioural aspects such as speed, fatigue, drink driving and enforcement. They remain vital, however this campaign highlights the importance of choosing a safer vehicle.”

The firm’s decision to focus on the old versus new campaign is due to the ‘wildly over-representated’ outdated vehicles that make up the Australian road fatalities. “The oldest vehicles on our roads account for just 20% of the fleet, but are involved in 37% of all fatal accidents, while vehicles built between 2012 and 2017 make up 31% of the fleet but account for just 12% of fatalities,” read the report.

“Too often people say the older car is safer and stronger. It is quite clear that is not the case. More importantly, this campaign also establishes the call to improve the affordability of newer, safer vehicles and encourage fleet renewal,” added Goodwin.

Previously, Euro NCAP performed a similar test, pitting a 20-year old+ Rover 100 (aka Metro) and a 2015 Honda Jazz. Remember, just because a car feels tough and “not made of tin Milo” when you knock on it, there’s no guarantee that it would keep you protected in a crash, as the video illustrates.