Students learn car modifications can be fatal

By Kristin Edge

The dangers of illegal car modifications are being driven home to Northland students in a first for New Zealand.

A modified car seized by police that was not claimed by the owner has now become a new educational prop showing hundreds of students modifications and the dangers they can cause.

The latest school to get a look at the silver Subaru Impreza was Kamo High School.

Northland road policing Senior Sergeant Steve Dickson said the idea of the project was to get students to think about the implications of modifications and how they could keep themselves safe as either a driver or a passenger.

"We are trying to encourage them to consider their own safety and friends.

"We are tying that in with awareness about speeding and wearing seatbelts," Mr Dickson said.

Kamo student Mohi Harris-Otene was amazed at the dangers of some of the modifications.

"I've learnt not what to do to a car. Just looking at the bald tyres it's easy to see how they would just slide out in wet weather."

His mate Tyren Wilson paid particular attention to the cut springs saying it reduced the car's traction and stability.

"Some things you might think are good can actually be deadly," Tyren said.

Road Safe Whangarei coordinator Gillian Archer said young people were getting ticketed for illegal modifications and turning their vehicles into potential death traps.

"It's not about restricting their fun - it's about them making safe modifications. This car is a great way to teach them about lethal changes," Mrs Archer said.

The car on display had modifications made to its muffler, tyres, windows, headlights, seats and suspension.

The students completed a questionnaire with the help of police to learn about the consequences of the various modifications.

To get the project on the road police joined forces with ACC, New Zealand Transport Agency, RoadSafe Northland, Sub lab and Ace Towing.

- Northern Advocate

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