The vehicles driven by young drivers still have safety defects, some of them serious. This is the assessment of the tenth edition of the SafetyCheck road safety campaign in Germany, which is run by DEKRA in cooperation with the German Traffic Watch and the German Road Safety Council with the patronage of the German Federal Minister of Transport, Alexander Dobrindt. Approximately 15,000 young drivers took part in the campaign. DEKRA experts determined that almost three quarters of the cars had defects.
SafetyCheck allowed young car owners to have their vehicles inspected, at no charge, at one of the 75 DEKRA branches nationwide. The goal of the campaign is to make young drivers aware of the importance of technical vehicle safety, as well as of the overall risks of road traffic. This is because the risk of 18-24 year olds in Germany being killed in a car accident remains almost twice the average of the total population.
"The history of SafetyCheck in the last ten years shows quite clearly that persistence and patience are called for in road safety. Lasting effects take time to appear" according to Dr. Gerd Neumann, Chairman of the Management Board of DEKRA Automobil GmbH. The defect rate of inspected vehicles shows a slightly decreasing trend as the rate was 81% five years ago and today it is 73%.
Young drivers tend to drive older cars, in particular because of financial reasons. The cars that were inspected during the 2016 SafetyCheck were, on average, 12.3 years old. This is more than three years older than the fleet of cars in Germany, which are 9.2 years old on average, according to information from the German Federal Motor Transport Authority. The analysis of the campaign in 2016 also proves that the defect rate sharply increases as a vehicle ages. The defect rate for vehicles less than three years old is 28%. Between 7 and 9 years old, this increases to 66%, and to 83% for cars between 13 and 15 years old. The picture remains almost unchanged in terms of the assemblies, as well. 46% of all vehicles had problems with their suspension, wheels/tires and chassis, 40% with the lighting, electrical and electronic systems, and 33% with the brake system.
Nevertheless, the proportion of vehicles with electronic safety systems even in older vehicles is also continuing to increase. Nine out of ten cars at SafetyCheck 2016 were equipped with ABS (91.6%) and airbags (92.9%). Six out of ten vehicles (60.7%) had ESP/ASR systems. Only 6.4% of vehicles inspected did not have any of these three systems installed. The results from 2016 also demonstrate how important it is to check these systems because 6.0% of ESP/ASR systems, 2.5% of airbags and 2.1% of ABS had defects.