Minister’s Car Safety Announcement Applauded
The announcement by the Minister of Transport, Mark Gosche that imported used cars will have to comply with tougher crash safety rules has been applauded by the Motor Industry Association as a major step towards reducing the road toll.
‘For many years New Zealand has not been able to take full advantage of the significantly increased levels of safety built into modern cars’, said Perry Kerr, Chief Executive Officer of the Motor Industry Association, which represents new car distributors. ‘With used cars arriving in the country at an average age of eight years plus, we have been importing obsolete technology, with a detrimental effect on road safety.’
The Land Transport Safety Authority has decided to use frontal impact standards for new cars which came into effect in Japan in 1994-96 (depending on new model introduction cycles) as the determinant for eligibility for import into New Zealand. The importation of cars which were built before the new standards became law would be banned from April 2002.
‘This is the most positive move towards reducing the road toll that we have seen for many years’, said Mr. Kerr. ‘Whilst new car safety engineering has improved dramatically in recent years, the exposure of our market to the world’s cheapest used cars has meant that not enough New Zealanders have been able to benefit. At least there is now a peg in the ground from which we can move on.’