THE most inexperienced drivers should be on the road in the safest cars, a Bathurst road safety expert has said.
Matthew Irvine, the owner of Calare Academy of Road Safety, has just purchased two new cars for his business, including a Kia Seltos, which was released in Australia this week.
The two new Kias join his fleet of 10 vehicles operating between Penrith and Dubbo.
While many people are skeptical about putting an inexperienced driver into a new car, feeling they should learn to drive without all the help new models offer, Mr Irvine would rather see them in the safest car possible.
"There is merit in both approaches, but the fact is we should have the least experienced drivers on the road driving the safest possible cars," he said.
Further to that point, Mr Irvine said brand new and later model cars have the best safety features, but they haven't gone up in price.
He said, thanks to changes to the Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) safety rating, manufacturers are listening to the market demand and putting more safety features in vehicles of all price ranges.
"As a business, we very much have that same philosophy. I want my staff, I want my clients in the safest car possible," Mr Irvine said.
"I will not buy a car that does not have a five-star crash rating and we will not use a car for training purposes that doesn't have that rating."
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Both the Kia Seltos and the Cerato feature autonomous emergency braking with a forward collision warning system, blind spot detection, lane keeping assist, front and rear parking sensors, smart cruise control, rear cross traffic alert. The Cerato also has hill-start assist control to stop the vehicle dangerously rolling backwards.
Mr Irvine said these features, to a degree, make it easier for the driver, but they can't replace good driving habits.
"It should never replace good observation techniques and proper checking, but if safety is available we should be using it," he said.
"Lane departure warning and blind spot detection are good ones. It's going to become more and more commonplace, so in five years' time, every car will have it."
With the features appearing in more vehicles, he said it was important for drivers to get used to them, learn what they sound like, what they mean and how to drive safely so as not to trigger the alerts.