US golf legend Tiger Woods could have been killed if his high-speed rollover crash was in Australia, an upcoming road safety report argues.
The 15-time major champion suffered significant right leg injuries after his Genesis GV80 rolled off a Los Angeles highway in February.
Although the injury has threatened to end Woods' illustrious career, road safety experts believe the 45-year-old may not have survived if driving in an Australian-specification SUV.
Australia does not have any rollover roof strength standard for vehicles, unlike the US where it has been mandated since 2012.
"If Mr Woods had rolled in a vehicle manufactured before the new rollover regulations and ratings were applicable, he would have had a significantly higher chance of sustaining a serious head or spinal injury," the draft report said.
"Many people injured in rollovers in pre-2009 vehicles were not so lucky."
Tia Gaffney, lead author of the report and resident crash investigator at the Australian Road Research Board, said the rollover initiative had dramatically reduced very serious injuries in newer vehicles.
A 2018 report evaluating the US standard showed that specific risk fell by 98.2 per cent for ejected front-seat occupants in post-2010 vehicles and 18.5 per cent for non-ejected occupants.
With no roof standards, some overseas manufacturers remove strengthening material and reinforcements for Australia-bound vehicles to save on manufacturing and shipping costs.
"The roof can be designed as a piece of plastic if they wanted. They could make it out of tin foil," Ms Gaffney told AAP on Wednesday.
"It's a bit crazy. You've got all of the other tests - a frontal test, an off-side frontal test, side-impact test, rear tests - and you've got this other piece of the car which isn't tested at all."
Ms Gaffney noted a crushed roof can fully or partially eject occupants, leading to "horrific" head, neck and spinal injuries.
These are some of the potentially fatal injuries Woods may have suffered if not for his crashworthy SUV keeping the compartment intact.
His vehicle also featured an in-built event data recorder (EDR), a small device similar to a "black box" fitted in aircraft.
The device allowed US crash investigators to immediately determine the high speed that led to Woods' crash, with the LA Sheriff estimating he was travelling 140 km/h - nearly double the posted speed limit - at the time of impact.
"In the absence of an EDR module, it would have taken experts months to determine this information using conventional forensic speed calculations," the report said.
"Currently, no Australian legislation exists mandating that vehicles be fitted with an EDR or that stored data be accessible by police."
The US introduced laws to allow investigators to access EDR data in 2011, and the European Union is set to follow suit from 2021.
On National Road Safety Week, Ms Gaffney and fellow report authors Professor Raphael Grzebieta and Dr George Rechnitzer are using Woods' case to call for regulatory changes.
They say the crash highlights the need for Australia to standardise rollover roof strength, mandate EDRs and establish a national crash investigation entity for vehicles akin to the Australian Transport Safety Bureau.
"With 1200 dying and nearly 40,000 seriously injured on Australian roads each year, we need to do better," the report said.