The state’s top traffic cop has urged motorists to consider the road-worthiness of their vehicles, following a “concerning” start to the new year.
Assistant commissioner Michael Corboy said fatal or life-threatening crashes often involved old vehicles.
“NSW Police and emergency services have attended many crashes over the years,” Mr Corboy said.
“When we come across a crash where the vehicle is old or people are trapped, they often sustain life-threatening and often fatal injuries in those vehicles.”
According to ANCAP Safety, older cars are over-represented in fatality crashes on the state’s roads.
Cars that are more than 15 years old represent one in five cars on the road but account for almost two in five fatality crashes.
While older cars aren’t necessarily the cause of crashes, if an older car is involved in a crash the severity is often worse.
ANCAP Safety chief executive James Goodwin urged consumers to do their research and buy the safest car they could afford.
“If haven’t got the money to spend, think about the vehicles in the driveway. It may be better to have mum and dad drive the older car and have the P-plate driver in the newer vehicle,” Mr Goodwin said.
“We would say a vehicle more than 15 years old is reaching the point where it shouldn’t be driven every day.
“You should be looking for a vehicle that’s got things that can help you avoid having the crash [such as] electronic stability control and airbags. This will help you mitigate the severity of the crash.
“As a general rule perhaps a vehicle under five years old is going to have the sort of features that we would recommend.”
Mr Corboy said 13 people had died on the state's roads this year, including a man that died in a collision on Mount Ousley Road on Thursday night.
This crash is being investigated by police.
“This is really concerning to us coming into what is basically our Safe Return period,” he said.
“We’ll be encouraging people to look at things that we know contribute to death; fatigue, driving with alcohol or drugs in your system, not wearing a seatbelt and being distracted by mobile phones.”
On Friday, ANCAP Safety put on a display at the Sutton Forest service centre rest stop on the Hume Hume with two crashed cars to convey the effects of a crash on an older car and a newer car.
The community display is a part of a national initiative to promote safer vehicle choices in partnership with the NSW Police, NSW government and the NRMA.
Motorists can check the ANCAP safety rating of their vehicles for free via ancap.com.au.