Warning over WoF change

By Kristin Edge

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Angela Peck reckons while she only has to have annual Warrant of Fitness checks done annually she will continue six-monthly checks to keep her daughter Aiyana safe. Photo/Michael Cunningham
Angela Peck reckons while she only has to have annual Warrant of Fitness checks done annually she will continue six-monthly checks to keep her daughter Aiyana safe. Photo/Michael Cunningham

Drivers with vehicles made in 2000 or later will now only have to get their warrant of fitness inspections once a year under new rules which came into force yesterday.

Whangarei mum Angela Peck reckons the change is good for the wallet but she won't compromise her 7-year-old daughter's safety by driving without the six monthly inspections by experienced mechanics.

The 25-year-old solo mum reckons she will be finding a garage to give her 2006 Holden Berlina a quick once over midway through the year.

"It's good on the wallet but for safety reasons I don't think yearly is good enough. I'm going to have checks done for the safety of my daughter ... I don't want to be driving around in a car that could be dangerous," Ms Peck said.

"Parts in cars can deteriorate extremely quickly and by having checks twice a year the issues can be dealt with before they become major."

She said car owners would become very reliant on thorough checks being done by those who issued warrants.

"There are a lot of dodgy guys out there who don't do good checks and now we are supposed to rely on their checks for a year."

Vehicles built before 2000 will continue to have six-monthly inspections.

Whangarei RoadSafety campaigner Gillian Archer hoped the new regulations would not see a reduction in safety.

She said the onus would be on vehicle owners and drivers to do their own regular checks, particularly of brakes and tyres.

Ms Archer said warrants were just a snapshot in time and drivers had a continuous obligation to check their vehicle to ensure it was safe.

She said some cars closer to the cut off point of 2000 were nearly 14 years-old and in vehicle technology were fairly old.

"The key thing is to check treads on tyres. They may pass at the time of a check but six or seven months down the track they may become unsafe."

Those mechanics who passed cars later than 2000 would have to issue drivers with clear instructions and warnings to check vehicles before it was due for another warrant.

The consequences of not having a vehicle up to warrant standards can be tragic.

A number of fatal accidents nationally have involved non-warranted vehicles.

Yesterday's changes means about 1.2 million cars, made after 2000, that were once subject to six-monthly WoF inspections will now be checked annually.

Northland road policing manager Inspector Murray Hodson said the most common causes of serious crashes in the region were alcohol, speed, high risk drivers and dangerous driving.

However, "smooth and worn tyres, cracked windscreens, rusty vehicles and other vehicle defects" were sometimes factors in vehicle crashes.

"The warrant of fitness check is a minimum safety check and shouldn't be confused with a vehicle maintenance check, Mr Hodson said.

"You don't have to wait until your warrant of fitness is due."

- Northern Advocate

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