WOF changes – we are not all in mortal danger

Our airwaves have recently been filled with expert analysis on how quickly the sky will fall if we move more in line with the rest of the world and reduce the amount of WOF checks our cars are subjected to.

Lobby groups have been telling us that many lives will be lost, jobs will be at risk and our roads will be full of dangerous cars just waiting to wreak havoc on other road users. Of course these lobby groups have a vested, financial interest in keeping the status quo and that’s understandable. Their role is to go in to bat for their members. But how objective can they be?

The NZ Herald ran a story this week about how the country’s former top cop also thought a change was a recipe for disaster. One of his arguments is that we shouldn’t compare our situation to other countries because NZ drivers are not very good. This may be true but what does this have to do with how often our vehicles get tested? Surely that’s a question of driver testing.

The other argument trundled out since the changes were announced is our aging vehicle fleet. Again, this may be true but the changes only affect vehicles during their first 13 years.  After that it’s back to the six monthly visit to the testing station. No matter how bad we drive or how old our cars are, the statistics show that mechanical faults were the sole cause in just 0.4% of accidents and a possible contributing cause in 2.5%; the same as counties with less frequent testing.

I think the lobby groups have done a good job and the changes the Government have made have been relatively minor compared to what was tabled originally. There will still be a large number of old, dangerous cars on our roads with no WOF, just like before. No changes to the testing regime will change that.

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