Report numberRA-2006-78
TitlePassive safety assessed in EuroNCAP crash tests:
SubtitleExplanation and evaluation of the European New Car Assessment Programme
AuthorsTobias Denys
Published byPolicy Research Centre for Traffic Safety 2002-2006
Number of pages32
Document languageDutch
Partner(s)Vlaamse Instelling voor Technologisch Onderzoek
Work packageOther: Vehicle technology

EuroNCAP is the European crash test programme that assigns scores (in the form of stars) to passenger cars that reflect secondary safety provided to adult occupants, children in child restraints and pedestrians. EuroNCAP is supported by 5 governments (UK, Germany, France, The Netherlands and Sweden), the European Commission,  motorcar federations, an international consumer organization and a representation of British insurers. To be able to assign the above mentioned scores, the results of frontal and side impact tests, pole tests and pedestrian tests are thoroughly analyzed. The scores offer the possibility to consumers to compare different vehicles in the field of secondary safety. The car manufacturers are offered the possibility to use the scores for commercial purposes.


Since the start up of EuroNCAP in 1996 the assigned scores for safety for adult occupants have witnessed a clear increase. This increase is not noticeable in scores that reflect the safety for pedestrians. As the safety for children in child restraints has only been investigated since the end of 2003, no trend was noticeable so far.


European research indicated that the results of EuroNCAP concerning safety for adult occupants form a good indication of the consequences of real life accidents. A strong correlation was found between the amount of assigned stars and the gravity of the sustained injuries. Also on the vehicle level the results of the simulated collisions seem to correspond well to the consequences of real life crashes.


The most important recommendation toward the Flemish and Belgian government consists of joining EuroNCAP. In this way influence can be exerted on the policy within EuroNCAP, and the proposals concerning the extension of the crash tests (collision compatibility, whiplash, different test speeds, cycling safety, …) can be implemented.

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The Policy Research Centre for Traffic Safety carries out policy relevant scientific research under the authority of the Flemish Government. The Centre is the result of a

cooperation between Hasselt University, KU Leuven and VITO, the Flemish Institute for Technological Research.


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