Transport

NZTA mulls law change as 17,300 cars remain unchecked

As many as 10,000 vehicles could be driving with failed warrants after 17,300 motorists failed to heed NZTA's call to have their vehicles rechecked. 

After the agency discovered it had been inadequately monitoring companies that issued warrants, it moved quickly to notify motorists with warrants issued by non-compliant certifiers. Motorists were offered vouchers to have their vehicles rechecked. 

NZTA enlisted law firm Meredith Connell to conduct a review of faulty WoF issuers and has been furiously contacting motorists who have warrants issued by operators found to be negligent.

According to the latest figures, NZTA has found 24,801 vehicles with warrants from poor certifiers. Just 7493 of those vehicles have been reinspected, leaving 17,308 vehicles unseen.

Just 40 percent of vehicles passed their first reinspection, meaning 60 percent of reinspected vehicles had been driving with a WoF when they shouldn’t have been. If the vehicles needing to be rechecked have the same failure rate, it would mean 10,000 are currently on the road when they shouldn’t be. 

Meredith Connell managing partner Steve Haszard said the number of re-checked vehicles has nearly doubled from January, and the offer of free vehicle rechecks had been extended to March 31.

He said vehicle owners had been written to and contacted by phone and a social media campaign. Social media campaigns targeted people within a 7km radius of inspectors found to issue poor warrants. 

Haszard noted that the law meant no one could force vehicle owners to have their cars rechecked.

“The current law doesn’t allow us to legally compel vehicle owners to get their vehicles rechecked, but it’s important that the owners of these vehicles understand that they may not have been properly inspected during the previous WoF check carried out by these suspended providers,” he said. 

A report by Kristy McDonald into the failures of one WoF issuer found to have contributed to the death of a motorist recommended a change to the law.

“One of the 25 recommendations in the Kristy McDonald report published yesterday is a change to legislation, specifically the Vehicle Compliance Rule 2002, to enable NZTA to issue a compulsory recall of vehicles inspected by an Inspection Organisation or Vehicle Inspector based on an assessment of risk,” he said.

He said NZTA would discuss the recommendation with the Ministry of Transport, which could then recommend a possible law change to Minister Phil Twyford.

Twyford told Newsroom he would consider recommendations only once the Ministry of Transport had considered its wider review into NZTA. 

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