1990 Cars’ Poor Passenger Safety
This year, the mouthpiece of the Australasian New-Car Assessment Program, ANCAP, marked a special milestone – their 30th year! To commemorate such a notable achievement, they decided to bring back some nostalgia by carrying out contemporary crash safety tests on cars that were popularly used in Australia three decades ago. Models they put through these experiments included the iconic Holden Commodore, Ford Falcon, Volvo 940, Subaru Liberty and Honda Accord. Furthermore, to authentically judge the reactions of those watching, ANCAP even invited car owners to take part in the test.
The initial specimen evaluated was a ’93 Mitsubishi Magna, among the first models subjected to test by the body. It gained renown as one of the safest vehicles from the 90s despite its lack of airbags and basic safety elements. In contrast with today’s lineup of crossovers like the Eclipse Cross, back then the company had a significant selection of sedans.
The Magna gave no better performance than could be anticipated from a much aged automobile, thus, its passengers were unable to remain shielded from extensive harm.
It is essential to recognize that car crash testing standards in the 1990s differed notably compared to contemporary ones, since the star rating system was only implemented in 1999. Collision check velocities were lower than today’s and the output was different. The end product was coded with colors; red denoting a severe risk of harm, orange symbolizing a moderate peril, and green signifying a negligible hazard.
The Mitsubishi Magna’s frontal crash analyses signalled to ANCAP a high likelihood of catastrophic or lethal skull fracturing in tandem with an increased threat of brain injury. The shortcoming of the make was that it didn’t utilize an airbag, leaving the dummy vulnerable to experiencing a 106g impact to their head against the steering wheel which was amplified twofold in comparison to current vehicles certified for 5-star ratings, where there is naturally an airbag underlying between the cranium and the wheel.
The study’s findings suggested that the driver’s legs, abdomen and pelvis were in great peril. Yet, the amount of chest trauma involved was calculated to be milder than anticipated. Additionally, it can be stated that the rear passenger could experience perilous damage as the efficacy of the lap section of the seatbelt could not prevent them from slipping too far forward. This is an issue that persists in many smaller vehicles to this day.
Modern vehicles are now seeming to be safer than ever, with check speeds shooting up to 40 mph compared to tests done back in the 1990s that only tested at 35 mph. Besides this,these tests have reach a more exacting level, since they now take into consideration various scenarios which a driver may experience during an authentic crash. Moreover, the testing manikins have been modernized to provide more detailed results and encompass any type or form of automobile driver.
ANCAP has only released footage from the Magna up to now; we anticipate checking out how the other vehicles from the 90’s that are on the list did.