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Vehicle Safety Package Released

A package of proposals aimed at significantly boosting vehicle safety in New Zealand was released by Transport Minister Mark Gosche today.

The eleven proposals released for discussion include changes to the rules governing vehicle importation, safety inspections and standards compliance.

New standards for frontal impact protection systems for passenger cars were one of the key proposals in the package, said Mr Gosche.

This proposal will restrict cars that can be registered for initial use on New Zealand roads to those that meet frontal impact standards. That means, for example, that Japanese vehicles manufactured before frontal impact standards were introduced between 1994 and 1996 will not be able to be registered.

"Vehicles are getting safer and safer as new safety technology is developed and new standards are introduced. The changes proposed in this package aim to ensure that New Zealanders enjoy the benefits of these advances."

Mr Gosche said the proposals would play an important part in the government's determination to bring the road toll down.

"Vehicle safety can often mean the difference between a road crash and a road death. By improving the quality and safety of the vehicle fleet we want to bring the road toll down."

Other changes proposed would see the banning of flood damaged imports, improved standards for seatbelts and airbags, and changes to the frequency of warrant of fitness inspections.

Mr Gosche said consultation would take place on all the proposals, and that discussion would be an important part of the process.

The Land Transport Safety Authority (LTSA) is seeking feedback on the proposals which can be downloaded from the LTSA website, www.ltsa.govt.nz, or ordered by ringing 0800 699 000. The deadline for comments is 31 August.

After reviewing all the comments received, the LTSA will make final recommendations to the government, Mr Gosche said.



- All passenger cars entering NZ to meet frontal impact standards

- More stringent border inspections for imported used vehicles

- Water damaged vehicles to be banned from use

- Higher standards for brake parts and tyres of imports

- All damaged or deployed airbags to be replaced

- Worn-out seatbelts to be replaced with webbing clamp seatbelts

- Seatbelts damaged in a crash to be destroyed

- Tougher standards for the supply and use of replacement parts for repairing vehicles

- Warrant of fitness inspections to be yearly until vehicles are five years old and then six monthly after that

- Frequency of certificate of fitness inspections to vary according to operator's safety performance

- Testing stations to cancel current certificates of fitness if serious defects found on commercial vehilces

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