Profits not safety

Hamish Rutherford at Stuff reports:

A campaign against warrant of fitness changes fronted by motor racing star Greg Murphy is under attack from the AA, which says it is about profit rather than safety.

The Government is considering whether to change the frequency of warrant checks from six-monthly to annually for cars up to 12 years old.

The Motor Trade Association has launched a highly visible campaign against the plan, fronted by Murphy, a four-time Bathurst 1000 winner. He urges people to lobby the Government against the plan.

Automobile Association spokesman Mark Stockdale said that could be seen as “scaremongering” and was influenced by motor trade commercial interests.

The Motor Trade Association members include hundreds of garages offering warrant checks, and the organisation owns Vehicle Testing NZ, the largest warrant provider.

“Clearly they have a vested interest in the status quo, so they’re more concerned about their bottom line than they are about road safety,” Mr Stockdale said.


The maths is simple. We have four million cars in NZ. Let’s assume 75% are over five years old (prob more than that). So three million cars. If checks go from six months to annually and cost $45 then that is $135 million less revenue for the and its members.

That is $135 million saved by motorists.

The AA said more than half of all accidents blamed on car defects were caused by worn tyres, and in 40 per cent of fatal accidents involving car faults, the vehicle had no warrant. The AA was “likely” to support the Government’s plans.

“There’s no evidence whatsoever . . . that frequency of inspection has any bearing on vehicle safety.”

Some countries have no mandated inspection period. Others range from one to two years generally. Six months is very uncommon.

Motor trade spokesman Ian Stronach insisted its interest was safety.

Yeah, right.

One can argue for monthly inspections, based on safety. The question for Government is do six monthly inspections make a noticeable difference to the safety of vehicles compared to 12 monthly ones. Based on my experience, I’d say no. Most six monthly checks find no issues at all.

If the MTA wanted to persuade people, they’d be better to drop the silly scare campaign, and produce some hard data. How many cars at each WOF check get a clean bill of health, and how many have issues to be fixed – and what are those issues.

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