Bring back the six-monthly Warrant of Fitness

The government should bring back six-monthly Warrant of Fitness inspections for the majority of cars and light commercial vehicles, says the car review website

Editor Clive Matthew-Wilson, who is an outspoken road safety campaigner, says:

I predicted that extending the WOF period from six to twelve months would trigger a huge rise in the number of defective vehicles. Sadly, I have been proved right.

“Although it’s hard to directly link these defective vehicles with the higher road toll, there is an obvious connection. The only question is how big the link is.”

“It is clear that the police, at least in some accidents, appear to automatically blame speed, when they should be looking at other factors, such as the roads. It is also clear that police crash investigations need to look more carefully at the condition of the vehicles involved.”

“Traffic accidents are caused by a variety of factors, such as driving ability, road conditions, weather, light conditions, fatigue, impairment and vehicle factors such as bald tyres. If you can change one or more of these factors you can often prevent an accident.”

“When Warrants of Fitness were issued every six months, issues such as worn tyres were often picked up before they became serious. Now it’s commonplace to see badly worn tyres, even on relatively new vehicles.”

Matthew-Wilson says the elderly and the poor often have to choose between bills and safety.

“If you have $20 left to buy food after paying the rent, then getting new tyres for your car is going to be an impossibility.”

“There needs to be a better way of funding WOF repairs, so that those who can’t simply charge new tyres to a credit card, can still afford these vital safety items.”

“In theory, beneficiaries can apply for a loan from Work and Income, but in practice, most beneficiaries have already made multiple loans for items such as washing machines. Therefore, when beneficiaries need a loan for new tyres, they often get declined.” 

“Clearly, there is a need for some kind of scheme whereby beneficiaries can promptly get loans for vital safety repairs on their vehicles. Remember, this is a loan, not a gift, and everyone wins when the national vehicle fleet is in a safe condition.”