Using vehicle safety ratings to determine how much drivers pay in injury levies is a step in the right direction, the Motor Trade Association says.

ACC yesterday announced a proposed shake-up of the motor vehicle levy scheme for private passenger vehicles.

Under the proposed scheme, private passenger vehicles would be rated on how well they protect occupants from harm in the event of a crash. Levies would be charged according to their crash risk rating.

Those driving petrol vehicles in the lowest "risk rating group'' would pay an annual ACC levy of $98.65. Drivers of non-petrol vehicles would pay $222.53.


About 30,000 cars would not fit into any of the four risk rating groups, and owners would be charged a set levy of $150.52 for petrol vehicles, and $274.40 for non-petrol.

Dougal Morrison of the Motor Trade Association (MTA) said the proposal was a positive move.

"We have long contended that cars are progressively getting safer and providing more protection for occupants, and this is likely to continue into the future.

"The move is a good start, but the key will be ensuring that there are enough categories created and that they reflect the state of the fleet over time,'' he said.

The AA, which was also in support of the possible changes, raised the same concerns as the MTA over the number of categories.

"In other countries, the levies are tailored to the individual make and model, and sometimes even engine size,'' AA spokesman Mark Stockdale said.

Overall, ACC's proposed changes to its levy schedule for workers, employers and motorists would trim more than half a billion dollars from the total annual amount collected.

The Government, which last year ignored ACC's recommendation for $330 million of cuts, has indicated any cuts made next year would also likely be below the recommended amount.