PARENTS on a budget looking to put their kids into inexpensive used small cars could be consigning them to death traps.
The latest RACQ safety research has revealed the dangers of smaller older vehicles.
Any vehicles produced before the year 2000 were lucky to receive more than one star.
Anything from Daewoo, the Ford Laser (95-97), Nissan Pulsar (2000-05) while Hyundai's Accents, Elantras Excels and Lantras (1995-2006) all received one star ratings.
Sixty-five of the second hand vehicles surveyed as one star or "very poor, compared to 36 cars which received the highest "safer pick” rating.
RACQ head of technical and safety policy Steve Spalding said parents should look at handing over the keys to the bigger family car.
"We found heavier, larger cars like the Mazda CX-7 SUV and the Subaru Liberty sedan scored well. While many of the smaller, older cars such as the Toyota Echo and Hyundai Getz had very low levels of protection for the driver,” Mr Spalding said.
"Most young drivers opt for a small car when they get their licence, but if they want the best protection in the event of a crash they need to swap for the safer family car.
"Thankfully nowadays safety doesn't have to come at a high price - many safe used vehicles can be bought for less than $10,000.”
Mr Spalding said used car buyers should be looking for cars with the latest safety features.
"Our 'safer pick' models not only have excellent protection for the driver, they'll actually cause less injury to other drivers, pedestrians, cyclists and motorists,” he said.
"If all cars had comprehensive safety features like airbags and electronic stability control, the number of fatal and disabling crashes would significantly drop.”
The 2017 Used Car Safety Ratings report assessed 279 used cars using data from more than 7.5 million real-world crashes in Australia and New Zealand, comparing their level of safety in protecting the driver and other road users in a collision.
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