As Waka Kotahi launches a public relations blitz for the ambitious “Road To Zero” campaign, the Motor Trade Association says the condition of thousands of vehicles on our roads is still a top concern – and will be for years to come.
New figures show that 40% of vehicles failed their fitness mandate during the first inspection of the 2021 calendar.
“It’s huge,” says Graeme Swan, MTA sector repair manager.
“That means thousands of our cars are not in a condition to be on our roads by the time they leave for their WoF. And the vehicles on our roads are getting older, not younger.
MTA supports the Road To Zero program, which aims to have zero road tolls by 2050, and recognizes that the reasons for the current road toll are complex.
“But the state of the fleet plays a role,” Graeme said.
“Vehicle factors contribute about 10% of the road toll. This needs to be part of the Road To Zero discussion.
“And even if the crash is caused by other factors, like driver error, common sense tells you that if your tires have good tread and your brakes are working properly, you may have more chances of avoiding an accident.
“We encourage all drivers to keep their vehicle in a safe and roadworthy condition. Don’t delay in getting your vehicle serviced or having that unusual noise checked – it could save you money in the long run or, more importantly, save a life.
About 28% of vehicles that failed the initial inspection in 2021 passed their WoF on the second attempt.
But MTA says that doesn’t change the fact that they’ve been on the roads in dangerous conditions.
Lights are the number one reason a vehicle can fail its WoF, followed by tire and chassis issues.
Figures provided to MTA by Waka Kotahi also show significant regional variation (see attached graph) in failure rates (see attached table), with Marlborough recording the lowest rate (30%) and Waikato the highest (48%).
“You expect some degree of variation, but not that much,” Graeme says.
“There are a lot of possible factors, but really the standard should be a lot more uniform across the country.”
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