Warrant of Fitness system ‘broken’

The New Zealand government must act to rebuild a ‘broken’ Warrant of Fitness system, says the car review website dogandlemon.com.

Editor Clive Matthew-Wilson, who is an outspoken road safety campaigner, says the WOF system “has gone from bad to worse since 2013.”

In 2013, WOF-related issues, such as bald tyres, contributed to 12 fatal crashes. By 2018, WOF-related issues had risen 400%, contributing to 51 fatal accidents.

Matthew-Wilson blames the previous government for allowing many motorists to skip six-monthly WOF inspections.

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 was proved right.”

Of the 51 fatal crashes involving vehicle defects in 2018, 23 involved worn tyres.

“When Warrants of Fitness were issued every six months, 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 tougher WOF tests have made things worse, not better.

“In theory, making it harder to pass a WOF saves lives. In practice, tougher WOF tests have simply increased the number of people driving around without WOFs.”

“If you have $20 left to buy food after paying the rent, then getting a new tyre for your car is impossible.”

“Worse, later on, the money that should have gone towards new tyres instead goes on fines for not having a WOF.”

“In theory, beneficiaries can apply for a loan from Work and Income. However 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 needs to be a new scheme allowing beneficiaries to 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.”