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WOF move worries mechanic

DENISE PIPER
Last updated 05:00 05/02/2013
Kelly Miru
DENISE PIPER
TREADING THIN: Kelly Miru from Kelly’s Automotive checks a car’s tyre tread depth as part of a WOF inspection. He believes tyres will run bald if warrants are not checked as regularly.

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Whangarei Leader

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An increased road toll could be the legacy of changes to our warrant of fitness system, a mechanic fears.

The changes mean warrant of fitness inspections will be done less frequently.

Associate transport minister Simon Bridges says the changes will save motorists time and money and will also focus on road safety.

New cars will have just one initial inspection then no check for three years. Cars first registered after January 1, 2000 will have inspections just once a year instead of every six months.

Older cars registered before 2000 will still have six-monthly inspections.

The changes also include education and extra police enforcement, although extra funding for this has not been announced.

Mr Bridges says the changes bring us into line with other countries and recognise that the quality of vehicles and their safety are improving over time.

The changes will save motorists $159 million a year.

But Kelly Miru from Kelly's Automotive says the changes might save the average consumer $50 a year but could cost them far more if unsafe vehicles are on the road.

Consumers will also be hit harder in the pocket when they come in for their annual check, he says.

Mr Miru has previously spoken out about the lack of policing of unsafe vehicles, saying they are causing dangers for honest, law-abiding drivers.

He says motorists are able to get away with unwarranted and unlicensed vehicles now, and it will only get worse if the rules are relaxed.

"The police don't enforce what is there now and they are not going to have time to get on their knees and look at a tyre. Even if they did, that's only one aspect."

Mr Miru agrees we should be in line with other countries.

In Canada where he previously lived, cars on a public road without a warrant of fitness would be towed instantly.

Every car also had insurance, he says.

For the system to be fair and safe, Mr Miru says it should be based on mileage.

"We've got a customer with an older car who wouldn't even use a tank of gas between warrants yet a salesperson in a brand new car would be due for new tyres after a year."

Mr Miru says his own business is unlikely to be badly affected by the changes because it offers a range of services but independent testing stations will be hit hard.

The changes are expected to come in by July 2014 but there will first be another period of consultation.

ANNUAL INSPECTIONS FAVOURED

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Whangarei residents favour warrant of fitness inspections being done yearly instead of six-monthly. An informal Whangarei Leader survey in April 2012, when the changes were first announced, found 92 per cent of respondents favoured the move to yearly inspections. The remainder suggested inspections should be based on mileage, while there was no support for the inspections to remain six-monthly. 

- Whangarei Leader

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