India bans unsafe cars. New Zealand doesn’t

A road safety campaigner has called on New Zealand to follow the lead of India and ban the sale of unsafe vehicles.

Clive Matthew-Wilson, editor of the car review website, was commenting after an Indian court banned the sale of small cars that fail to meet minimum crash test standards.

Matthew-Wilson accuses the New Zealand government of being hypocritical about road safety.

“On one hand the government says ‘drive safely’; on the other, the government freely allows death-trap vehicles to be sold new in this country.”

Matthew-Wilson is especially critical of the government’s refusal to ban the sale of imported vehicles that lack Electronic Stability Control.

Electronic stability control can prevent a third of fatal crashes. If you look at the fatal crashes over the last few years, it’s relatively rare to see a vehicle with electronic stability control involved in a fatality. Yet, there are still multiple vehicles sold without it.”

The government has mandated stability control for all imported vehicles from 2020, but Matthew-Wilson describes this action as “locking the stable door after the horse has bolted.”

“By 2020, all vehicles coming into the country will already have stability control, so the law is effectively a public relations gesture. In the meantime, unsafe vehicles like the LDV van and the Chery J11 are being sold widely. This is just wrong.”

“The road toll tends to rise and fall with the economy, but it is now universally accepted that the gradual overall reduction in deaths and injuries since the late 1980s is due to safer roads, safer vehicles and better medical attention.”

“Given this year’s awful road toll, the government needs to act to keep unsafe new cars off the road.”

“The bottom line is this: it’s hypocritical for the government to complain about the high road toll, but leave our roads and cars in an unsafe condition. If it’s good enough for an impoverished country like India to ban cars that fail crash tests, it’s good enough for New Zealand.”