The Road Ahead : February March 2008
8 FEB/MAR 08 The RACQ has renewed calls for greater government action on vehicle roadwor thiness after releasing a repor t showing nearly half the cars the Club sur veyed had serious safety defects. RACQ's vehicle technologies executive manager Steve Spalding said the repor t was the culmination of a two-month investigation into the condition of vehicles in Queensland. It detailed the results of RACQ vehicle inspections from regional and metropolitan centres across the state and was an accurate reflection of a large segment of the used car market. "The repor t also shows that three- quar ters of all vehicles less than 10 years old contain one or more safety- related or other impor tant defects, ranging from electrical faults, bald tyres and brake pads to steering and suspension issues," Mr Spalding said. He said the passenger vehicles assessed in the repor t contained, on average, 2.8 severe or impor tant safety defects, with faulty or defective tyres and wheels being among the most commonly detected problems. The age of the vehicle also played an impor tant role. "Vehicles in the seven to 10-year age range carried more than three times the number of safety-related defects, on average, than those less than four years old," he said. "As the number of defects found in a vehicle was shown to rise as it aged, it is impor tant for motorists to be confident in what they are buying and be aware of the associated repair costs when buying a used vehicle." Most of the 594 vehicles sur veyed for the repor t were for sale and legally should have carried a safety cer tificate identifying them as roadwor thy. While the RACQ vehicle inspections took account of Queensland Transpor t's inspection guidelines, they involved a more comprehensive analysis of the vehicle. "The repor t shows that a vehicle can pass a safety cer tificate inspection and still have significant and costly mechanical problems which only a more comprehensive check would reveal," Mr Spalding said. "More disturbingly, in the case of the worst defects, it indicates the safety cer tificate inspection system is not adequately capturing defective vehicles before they are exposed to potential purchasers. "While research shows that vehicle defects are the primar y cause of less than five percent of crashes, they can contribute to whether a crash does occur, its severity or its injur y consequences. "The repor t suppor ts RACQ's view that Queensland Transpor t should step up its random checks on used cars offered for sale to ensure that they display current safety cer tificates and that their roadwor thiness matches the condition warranted on those cer tificates. "Just as impor tantly, the government has to adequately resource the depar tment to enable it to raise the profile of its random roadside inspection program, which is currently largely invisible to most motorists." He said stopping and checking around 10 percent of vehicles each year would encourage many more drivers to maintain their vehicles in a safe condition 365 days a year, with the added benefit of detecting more unregistered vehicles. These vehicles would other wise not be caught through any alternative program of compulsor y inspection prior to re-registration. Mr Spalding added that the RACQ had provided Transpor t Minister John Mickel with the repor t and had sought commitments to a more rigorous Queensland Transpor t approach to maintaining vehicle safety standards. The RACQ is concerned about the road safety impact of defective vehicles. DEFECTIVE system features Vehicle inspections conducted by RACQ have shown that 75 percent of vehicles have defects, including safety issues.
December January 2008
April May 2008