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Too many unsafe vehicles on our roads

11 August 2011

Too many unsafe vehicles on our roads

A survey carried out recently by the Motor Trade Association (MTA), showed that nine percent of all the vehicles surveyed had neither a current warrant of fitness (WoF) nor were currently licensed.

Vehicles more than six years old are required to be inspected for a WoF every six months, while vehicles younger than this are re-inspected every 12 months. Failure to display either a current WoF or a vehicle license label can incur a fine of $200.

This survey of 500 vehicles was carried out in April at 25 service stations across the country and looked at a range of vehicle ownership and compliance issues. Using teams of MTA staff, the survey included a check of the vehicles’ WoF and license status.

The vehicles found not to have a current WoF or be licensed tended to be, but weren’t always the same vehicle, even though a vehicle is required to have a current WoF before it can be relicensed. With almost 2.8 million light vehicles in the national fleet, these findings indicate as many as a quarter of a million of them may not be compliant.

Commenting, Ian Stronach, MTA Marketing and Communications General Manager said “These results, while not a surprise, were a concern. We have already seen the lack of attention that drivers are paying to vehicle servicing, and it seems that this attitude is also making its way into areas of formal vehicle and safety compliance.”

Not surprisingly, 31 percent of drivers whose vehicle had an expired WoF were from the lowest income group (less than $25,000 pa). A similar picture emerged for those whose vehicle was unlicensed, with 43 percent also coming from this income group. There was however, a much wider spread in terms of the age of those driving vehicles with no WoF or license, who were represented across all age bands in similar numbers.

Of the vehicles that were unlicensed, the majority were less than 100 days overdue, with the largest number of those being less than 10 days out of date.

Failure to have a current WoF was more significant. While the majority were again less than 100 days overdue, the largest number were between 31 and 100 days out of date. Remarkably one vehicle had not been issued with a WoF for almost six years!

Stronach adds “What’s especially disturbing is the number of potentially unsafe vehicles that may be on our roads. Too many drivers are avoiding what is a standard safety check, at the same time we have a steadily aging fleet, that’s not being serviced in too many cases. That trend represents a growing risk to the safety of all road users, and we would encourage the NZ Transport Agency, Police and councils to ensure that compliance of these basic requirements is stepped up.”


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