WoF system changes aimed at saving

Drivers whose cars are now less than 13 years old will only need annual warrants of fitness checks rather than six-monthly, under changes to the WOF system aimed at saving motorists $159 million a year.

Associate Transport Minister Simon Bridges has just announced the changes after reviewing the WOF system earlier in the year.

The changes include:

* new cars will have an initial inspection but no further WOF check will be required until the vehicle is three years old. After that, they will require annual inspections.

* vehicles which are more than three years old and first registered after 1 January 2000 will require annual inspections.

* older vehicles which were first registered before 1 January 2000 will still require 6-monthly checks.

Mr Bridges said the mix recognised concerns about older vehicles on the road, while also recognising that in new cars, the quality and safety features had improved over time and the six-monthly checks were unnecessary.

He said the Ministry of Transport had calculated that the changes would save motorists and businesses $159 million a year - or $1.8 billion over 30 years - including savings in inspection costs, law enforcement costs - such as fines for unwarranted vehicles - and the time spent getting a WOF.

There will also be changes for the Certificate of Fitness regime which applies to transport vehicles such as taxis and rental cars.

Although the default position will be to retain six-monthly checks, the Transport Agency will have a discretion to require individual operators to undergo either more or less regular checks, between every three months to a year. That will depend on the operators' safety records. That change is expected to save between $14 million to $41 million a year.

To help address concerns raised about less frequent warrant checks, Mr Bridges said money would be put into public education campaigns and more funding for Police enforcement on warrants.

He said the changes brought New Zealand into line with other countries.

"New Zealand currently has one of the highest inspection frequencies in the world."

He said NZTA was also reviewing the annual car licensing (registration) system, looking at ways to make paying the fee easier and reduce infringement notices by using more reminders and payment incentives such as late payment penalties.

The Motor Trade Association (MTA) said the changes would mean the loss of more than 2000 jobs because fewer inspections would need to be carried out, pushing more skilled people out of the automotive industry.

Furthermore, it would increase risks to motorists and ultimately be more expensive for them.

"Many vehicles will now be travelling twice the distance and going twice as long before undergoing the minimum safety check," MTA spokesman Ian Stronach said.

"Many drivers rely on this as their primary safety and operational assurance. In an automotive environment like ours, that is too long and too far."

Mr Stronach said it was a "piecemeal deconstruction" of the vehicle inspection regime that has served and protected motorists well for many years.

Road safety campaigner Clive Matthew-Wilson said the changes would result in more road deaths.

"Despite what people have been conned into believing, the current six-monthly WOF check is a major lifesaver."

He dismissed Government claims that few accidents are caused by vehicle defects and that the six-monthly WOF are therefore an unnecessary expense.

"Take a typical situation where a child runs out in front of your car. Whether or not that child gets killed may well depend on the state of your vehicle's brakes and shock absorbers," he said.

The Government had done a brilliant job of presenting the changes as a measure to save ordinary motorists time and money, when actually the average motorist would save very little and may lose a lot, he said.


Perhaps that is the problem

Perhaps MeNoUnderstand that is the problem, you don't understand. That is the point I was making - while I may well be a competent person regarding ensuring my brakes are maintained- there are an awful lot of people who don't have that knowledge, who do need to be told their brakes are past used by conditions, who don't recognise a warning sign. Some people just don't give a ...! As they feel it is their right to be on the road no matter the state of their vehicle. So before you critique my comment think carefully about the knowledge others may or may not have about maintaining a safe car.

Me I am an older female who grew up with males, and who had the advantage of building motors and tinkering. There are a lot of people both male and female who blindly rely on others to tell them it's failing (like other parts of their lives). Also, bear in mind there are different driving standards out there, which mean that a car that wears one way with a person wears totally different for another.

I live by the sea - you want to see what it does to cars - in fact that is the trouble, you dont see what happens until they come and tell you, your brake line has rusted through, but 'crap I just replaced that 6 months ago'. It is amazing how many don't maintain cars as it is, they just expect them to keep on running - and that is why I rely on our current system.

That's a bit harsh

"If you rely on a WOF to tell you when things are unsafe then to be frankly you should not be on the road," according to Menounderstand, responding to a previous comment.  But there is nothing in the new legislation to prevent a person who relies on the WOF from taking his car regularly to the garage between required WOF checks and asking them to check the brakes, tyre tread depth and any other aspects of the WOF check that he feels he is not competent to assess for himself.

Brakes are safe?

If you rely on a WOF to tell you when things are unsafe then to be frankly you should not be on the road.



Dodgy brakes

Tell that to the next person that drives down Stuart Street only to find their brakes give out. There are still a lot of people in this world who cannot tell one end of their car from the other.

I have a brand new car which I am happy with getting a warrant done every year - because then I know my brakes are safe. I have a car which I got before this one that at 8 years old had steering issues and other problems picked up at a warrant that I didn't know about - At 8 years of age, I want 6 monthly. $40 compared to loss of limb or life.

I suspect my older car will outlast the mileage of my new car. Like other technology to get more for your money but keep the prices similar they give you the outward appearance of being all sweet, but the reality on closer look, the new car is not finished as well.

This leads one to assume the stretching out of the warrants is due to the fact that the lifetime of a modern car is drastically reduced.

Tell that to the people who cannot afford to constantly change their cars. [abridged]

WOF change too timid

Good on the govt for the long overdue review of the 1930's WOF system. It's better than nothing, but nowhere near good enough. Every five years would be more than sufficient to ensure safety, coupled with spot checks for tyre tread depth and the electrical items, lights, wipers and horn. These are the things that can't be predicted beyond the point of inspection.

And there is no logic in making vehicles 13 years old require more frequent inspection. There is nothing about a vehicle that changes just because it has turned 13. I hope to see a further review in a year or two, once the likes of Greg Murphy stop their bleating. I'd suggest 5-yearly inspections, and to placate the Murphys of this world, every two and a-half years for vehicles over 25.

That along with road checks, mainly for tyres. After all, they are the only real problem in vehicles where a fault has been found to contribute to an accident. That would make NZ still in the forefront of compulsory checking in the entire world.

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