Expert urges caution over WOF changes

Thursday 20 September 2012, 7:43AM
By Dog & Lemon Guide

The proposed changes to the WOF regulations will not help the average motorist, says the car review website

Editor Clive Matthew-Wilson says:

“Let’s be clear about this: these changes are being driven by car dealers and will primarily benefit car dealers. Most motorists are perfectly comfortable with the system as it is.”

“New Zealand has one of the most frequent vehicle safety inspections in the world. That’s the way it should be: New Zealand also has one of the oldest vehicle fleets in the world. We need the security of these tests.”

“It’s particularly dangerous for the government to lengthen the time between WOFs without making provision for the distance a car may travel.”

“A courier could easily do 40,000km in a single year. That’s enough distance for a tyre to go from new to bald. Yet, that vehicle would have a perfectly legal WOF.”

“It’s all very well to say that the car owner is responsible for keeping the vehicle safe, but most car owners are not mechanics: they may be able to spot a bald tyre, but they can’t be expected to understand the multiple safety systems that protect the modern driver.”

“Any extension to the time between WOF checks will inevitably put pressure on the police to make more frequent roadside checks of vehicles.”

“I completely oppose this use of police time. Firstly, the police have more important things to do, such as catch criminals. Second, policemen aren’t mechanics; the average policeman can’t detect whether the airbag warning light has been disconnected or if the directional tyre tread is appropriately positioned. Those judgement calls are the work of trained WOF technicians at government-approved testing stations. That’s where the safety assessments should be done, not by a policeman at the side of the road.”

Matthew-Wilson adds that the proposed changes fail to deal with the nearly 10% of cars that have no WOF at all.

A recent survey by the Motor Trade Association showed that 9% of all the vehicles surveyed had neither a current warrant of fitness (WOF) nor were currently licensed.

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