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MTA welcome focus on vehicle safety

The Motor Trade Association is welcoming the release of the Government’s new draft road safety strategy.

MTA Chief Executive Craig Pomare says the association is pleased to see vehicle safety has been made a priority in the Road to Zero consultation document, released today.

The intent of this part of the strategy is to improve the safety of vehicles entering New Zealand, ensuring that existing vehicles are as safe as they can be (including through retrofitting new technologies where appropriate), and building public demand for safer vehicles.

“We’ve long been concerned that attention has been too heavily weighted on driver behaviour and the roading network without recognising the importance of vehicle safety and the new safety features in modern vehicles”.

Mr Pomare said nine percent of fatal crashes are linked to some sort of vehicle fault.
“We know that first-time WoF fails have increased from 35 percent to 40 percent in the last five years. Our research also shows around half of vehicle owners do nothing to check and maintain their vehicle between WOFs. A third don’t know what the minimum safe tyre tread depth is. These statistics tell us people are not focused on the safety and maintenance of their cars. However, maintenance is fundamental to road safety.”
Mr Pomare says worn tyres have been linked to a growing number of crashes since the warrant of fitness system was changed in 2014 (up from 107 crashes in 2014 to 166 in 2017).

“It is vital drivers check their tyres every few months to make sure there is plenty of tread to get them out of trouble if they need to brake suddenly.”

MTA recommends people upgrade their tyres once they reach around 3mm of depth, rather than wait until the minimum allowable depth of 1.5mm.

“At 1.5mm you have half the stopping distance in the wet as a new tyre.”

Mr Pomare says the MTA welcomes other initiatives within the strategy including a review of the Warrant of Fitness inspection regime and driver licensing system.

“As part of the review of the licensing system we strongly recommend the Government look at adding a component on vehicle maintenance.

“In two separate surveys we’ve conducted, two-thirds of respondents have supported such a move.”

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