Operation Waltz uncovers some less than fancy compliance
Operation Waltz uncovers some less than fancy vehicle compliance
Operation Waltz - a night time vehicle check recently undertaken jointly by NZ Transport Agency and the Commercial Vehicle Investigation Unit (CVIU) of NZ Police found less than fancy Warrant of Fitness (WOF) compliance in some of the 552 vehicles inspected.
Missing dash boards, cracked windscreens, steering and suspension tied together with rope, noisy cars and Dad’s dodgy classic car were some of the vehicles that were issued with tickets or ordered off the road by Operation Waltz in Rotorua recently.
NZ Transport Agency’s Midlands Manager David Pearks says although it was good to see a noticeable improvement in compliance by boy racer vehicles, this was marred by the fact that the team issued a significant number of tickets for Warrant of Fitness (WOF) non compliance and that ten of the worst vehicles inspected by the operations team were ordered off the road due to safety concerns.
“Some of the faults we found included a vehicle driven by a Dad taking his son to the ball that had a crack chassis, no approved seat belts, the air ram unit was protruding through the floor and it had an unapproved suspension unit all of which resulted in it being unsafe for those riding in it as well as to other road users.”
The Midlands vehicle team has been working with Police in Rotorua since 2010 targeting vehicle standards and this time out coincided with the school ball season.
Mr Pearks says operations like this are important in ensuring that the standard of vehicles driven by young drivers is safe and meets Warrant of Fitness standards.
“It’s sad that young drivers still are putting themselves, their friends and other motorists at risk by driving in unsafe vehicles. This operation identified some basic standards were not being met, there is no excuse for not having seat belts, worn tyres to the rim and an unsecured fuel tank.”
Mr Pearks said while the number of fatal and serious injury crashes involving teenage drivers although had dropped nationally from 475 in 2008 to 257 last year, in the Bay of Plenty this figure has remained unchanged - last year 25 Bay of Plenty teenagers were involved in serious and fatal crashes this figure so far remains the same for this year.
“Road crashes are still the single biggest killer of teenagers in New Zealand, we are working with police and other organisations to reduce this number by ensuring the vehicles they drive in are safe,” says Mr Pearks.
Mr Pearks said with an average of one teenager killed on New Zealand roads every week in recent years, the country’s teen crash rates were still among the worst in the developed world, and it was important for parents to do their part by making sure the vehicles their teens drive are up to WOF standards.
The Transport Agency has made significant changes to improve the safety young drivers as part of the Government’s Safer Journeys strategy, including implementing challenging driver licence tests for both learner and restricted licences, increasing the minimum driving age to 16, lowering the youth alcohol limit for teen drivers to zero, and the other element of the action plan is to ensure that young drivers and their parents the vehicle they either use or buy is safe.