How Euro NCAP crash tests save lives
Car crash tests done by Euro NCAP over the past 20 years have helped to halve the number of people dying on UK roads, effectively saving 15,000 lives. We reveal how they’ve done it and what safet...
If you’ve seen a minor car accident recently, you’ll know that while the vehicles involved may look seriously damaged with crumpled up body panels, the drivers are likely to be standing at the roadside swapping insurance details.
Wind the clock back 20 years, and such a crash scene would have been distinctly different, as the video below highlights. It shows how little protection a 1997 Rover 100 afforded its occupants in comparison with a 2017 Honda Jazz.
In 1997 many new cars lacked important safety features, so their occupants risked serious injuries, even from fairly minor prangs. A total of 3599 people were killed on our roads in 1997, and more than 40,000 were seriously injured. In contrast, in 2015 there were 1732 deaths and around 22,000 serious injuries, and it’s the tireless work of Euro NCAP over the past 20 years that has made all the difference.
The extent of crash testing done by car makers during development varied greatly and the debate about how to improve road safety had been running for 20 years and didn’t look set to be resolved any time soon.
The legislation at that time was basic: new cars had to pass a steering wheel movement test, in which the car was crashed into a concrete block head on at 30mph. If the steering wheel wasn’t pushed up and back further than a specified amount by the impact, the car passed the test.