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A Public Education Campaign on Choosing Safer Vehicles

For more information on the safety features listed on this page, visit:

Choosing Safer Vehicles

Different makes and models of cars have different safety features. Some safety features, called passive safety features, have been shown to significantly reduce your chances of being injured in a crash. Other features, called active safety features, have even been shown to reduce the risk of a crash occurring.

So, if you're thinking of buying a new car, ask yourself and your dealer, How Safe is This Car? Look for vehicles that have a high Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) Rating: the more stars, the safer the vehicle!

From July 2008, vehicles will have to meet minimum safety standards to be suitable for the Tasmanian Government Fleet. Additional mandatory safety features will be phased in over the next few years. Further details can be found at Mandating Minimum Safety Standards for the Government Vehicle Fleet.

Safer Vehicles may have the following safety features

Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS) 

Reduces the risk of tyres skidding under heavy braking. ABS uses intelligent sensors to detect when a wheel is about to lock and then selectively releases and applies the brake to prevent the wheel from locking.

Electronic Stability Control (ESC) 

ESC reduces the risk of a vehicle going off-path or losing control. ESC uses intelligent sensors to detect when a car has deviated from its steered direction, then reduces engine torque and selectively applies the brake to individual wheels to bring the vehicle back on track. There are several acronyms other than ESC used by car manufacturers to refer to such devices.

Alternative Name for ESC


Electronic Stability Program (ESP) Holden, Audi, Chrysler, Mercedes, Saab and Volkswagen
Dynamic Stability Control (DSC)  Ford, BMW, Jaguar, Land Rover
Vehicle Stability/Swerve Control (VSC) Toyota, Lexus
Active Stability Control (ASC) Mitsubishi
Dynamic Stability and Traction Control  Volvo
Vehicle Stability Assist  Honda
Vehicle Dynamic Control  Subaru, Nissan

Speed Alert System

A system that alerts the driver either by means of an audio or visual indication that the vehicle has exceeded a predetermined speed limit set by the driver.

Intelligent Speed Assistance (ISA) 

ISA is an emerging vehicle safety technology that uses GPS (Global Positioning Systems) and digital speed maps to warn drivers of excessive speed. ISA can act in two ways, as a passive warning device or as an active speed limiter.

Dual Front Airbags

An airbag is a fabric bag that inflates to prevent vehicle occupants from hitting the interior of the vehicle in the event of a crash. Dual front airbags consist of a driver airbag located in the steering wheel and a passenger airbag located in the dashboard, usually above the glove box.

Side Airbags

Airbags designed to protect the head and/or chest of a vehicle occupant in the event of a crash involving the side of the vehicle. This type of airbag can be mounted in the seat, roof or the door trim.

Curtain Airbags 

Designed to protect the driver's head in the event of crash. Curtain airbags are deployed from the top of the door rails above the side window.  They form a cushion between the driver and the window and stay in place in the event of a car rolling over or sustaining a side impact crash.

Head Restraints

Designed to prevent whiplash occurring in the event of a rear impact crash. Head restraints restrict the head from extending backward from the torso in the initial stage of an impact and then being thrown forward.

3-Point Seat Belt

Designed to prevent the wearer from hitting the interior of a vehicle and/or being thrown from the vehicle in a crash. A 3-point seat belt includes a lap and shoulder restraint, which helps to spread out the energy of a moving body across the chest, pelvis and shoulder in the event of a crash.

Seat Belt Reminder System

A reminder system that alerts the driver of a vehicle by means of a sound or visual indication that a seat belt should be worn.

Cargo Barrier

A barrier that prevents unrestrained objects in the rear of a vehicle from coming forward at speed into the passenger area of the vehicle under sudden braking or in the event of a crash.

Automatic Headlamps

A device that automatically turns the vehicle headlamps on at night and in other low visibility conditions to help improve vehicle visibility.