The Road Ahead : February March 2010
We should be making access to late model, safe vehicles as easy as possible ... MAKES YOUR DAY 39 FEB/MAR 2010 THE ROAD AHEAD visit www.roadahead.com.au MORE INFO RACQ SPECIAL REPORT MOTORING PHOTOS, TOP LEFT: BRIAN AND JOSEPH MCKILLOP. ABOVE: PEUGEOT 307, 2001. capabilities and built-in safety features. The Club wants the system replaced by a more holistic assessment that includes the vehicle's power-to-weight ratio and safety features. "While strongly supportive of Queensland's graduated licensing system overall, we have reservations about the system currently used to determine which vehicles a new driver is allowed to operate," Mr Spalding said. "In many cases, vehicles deemed to be high powered actually have lower power outputs and offer less performance than similar models that a young licence-holder is allowed to drive. "The current restrictions are based around such things as the number of cylinders, whether or not it has a turbo or super-charger, the engine's kW output and whether the engine has been modified. "The selection process appears to be based on a perception of the vehicle's risk rather than any objective measure of its actual risk." Mr Spalding said there were significant anomalies under the present system that resulted in P-platers not being allowed to drive cars with high levels of standard safety equipment simply because, for example, they had turbo-charged engines. One example is the McKillop family of Samford, who owns a Volkswagen Golf 118 TSI. While turbocharged, the Golf boasts a five star safety rating. Brian McKillop said he found it "ludicrous" that his son Joseph (when he gets his P-plates) could legally drive the family's second vehicle, a 1970s' Fiat X1-9 sports car which has no modern safety items, but not the much safer Golf. "The definition of the law, as it stands, is flawed," Mr McKillop said. He has taken the matter up with Volkswagen Group Australia (VGA). In its response, VGA confirmed it had been unsuccessful in obtaining an exemption for the new Golf 118TSI in Queensland. "That said, we have been successful in Victoria in gaining this exemption and we plan to continue pushing for this exemption to be introduced to Queensland," VGA s aid. Mr Spalding said the RACQ had raised its concerns with the Department of Transport. "We should be making access to late model, safe vehicles as easy as possible," he said. WHAT'S SAFE AND WHAT'S NOT? RACQ 's free2go program, which provides services and benefits to more than 114,000 young Queenslanders, provides an insight into the types of cars more commonly driven by the under-25s. The number one choice of free2go members is the Holden Commodore, followed by the Toyota Corolla and the Mitsubishi Lancer, all models from the 1990s to very early 2000s. Alarmingly, the Monash University Accident Research Centre (MUARC) in its Used Car Safety Ratings (UCSR) ranks none of these popular cars among the top 10 'most crashworthy' vehicles. The brochure lists the crash ratings of almost 240 popular vehicles in 10 categories, ranging from small to family cars, commercial and four-wheel-drives. Examples of good performers among the current rankings include: • Ford Focus (2005-07) • Saab 9-3 (1998-2002) • Peugeot 307 (2001-07) Not so good performers include: • Ford Laser (1982-88) • Hyundai Excel (1995-2000) • Holden Commodore VL and VP (1986-93). ESSENTIAL INFO: Download your free Used Car Safety Ratings brochure at www.racq.com or call the RACQ's Technical Advisory service on 13 1905.
December January 2010