WoF plans divide driver opinion

Plans to reform inspection system prove controversial.

Kiwi vehicles are typically inspected every 6000km, whereas in the UK they are tested every 19,000km and in Germany every 32,000km.
Kiwi vehicles are typically inspected every 6000km, whereas in the UK they are tested every 19,000km and in Germany every 32,000km.

As the Government announced plans this week for a radical shake-up of the Warrant of Fitness system, Driven readers have made their opinions known for months.

As we revealed exclusively in May, the motoring industry's proposals for the Warrant of Fitness reform included new cars being checked two years after being sold, followed by inspections at four and six years.

Thereafter, the industry suggested, they would need a yearly Warrant of Fitness. The current six-monthly WoF on cars over six years old could be moved out to 12 months.

The changes were part of Government proposals to lower the annual compliance costs of the WoF, vehicle registrations and the certificate of fitness and transport services licensing systems.

The Automobile Association this week welcomed the Government's discussion document, saying it was "the most significant changes to vehicle regulations since the introduction of used Japanese imports in the 1980s".

AA spokesman Mark Stockdale added: "It has the potential to save motorists' time and money."

But more than 60 per cent of New Zealand drivers fear that changes to vehicle licensing regulations will mean fewer Warrant of Fitness checks, according to a recent Motor Trade Association survey.

It found that 630 of the 1000 drivers surveyed believed changing the frequency of WoF inspections would compromise road safety.

"We didn't see much appetite for a change to the WoF regime," said MTA spokesman Ian Stronach.

"Drivers clearly feel that the system we have now works, and see the WoF regime as having an important role to play."

The survey showed 98 per cent of drivers agree that WoFs are a valuable safety check and an important part of road safety.

Kiwi vehicles are typically inspected every 6000km, whereas in the UK they are tested every 19,000km and in Germany every 32,000km.

"New Zealand is the only country in the world that requires most vehicles to undergo a safety inspection every six months. Most countries only require an inspection once a year or every two years, and in many Australian and US states there is no regular inspection at all," said Stockdale.

"It's been decades since these systems were given a major review and in this time vehicle quality, reliability and safety have all improved enormously. The AA is pleased to see the Government looking at a wide range of options to ensure motorists are getting the best results for safety, value and time."

The proposed changes brought a mixed response from Driven readers. Some quoted Australia's system of personal responsibility to keep a car roadworthy while other readers pointed out the safety aspect.

"Cutting back on WoF checks is contrary to the country's goal of reducing road deaths and injuries," said a reader.

- NZ Herald

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