Vehicle warrant changes roll in

New warrant of fitness rules could result in increased police scrutiny of vehicle safety and a drop in business for vehicle testing stations.

From July 1, warrant of fitness inspections for vehicles registered anywhere in the world on or after January 1, 2000, changed from requiring inspection every six months to annual inspections.

It is the second stage of the rollout, the first coming in on January 1 this year, where light vehicles first registered anywhere between 2004 and 2008 moved to annual, rather than the six-monthly warrant of fitness inspection.

They will remain on annual inspections for their lifetime.

New vehicles, after an initial inspection, won't require another one until the third anniversary of their first registration.

Palmerston North Inspector Brett Calkin said that over the next 12 months there would be an increased focus from police on vehicle compliance.

Vehicles were already checked at alcohol checkpoints but police would be stepping up what they were doing to ensure vehicles were safe.

This may include working with partner agencies and getting someone with some mechanical expertise to take a closer look at vehicles and directing motorists to fix any problems.

"Lots of people have no idea how their car works and how to keep it safe," Calkin said.

Vehicle Testing New Zealand central area manager Gary Flowerday, who is based in Palmerston North, said they had calculated a 20 to 30 per cent drop in workload following the changes, but the actual effect remained to be seen.

Maintenance inspections had been introduced for those concerned about the length of time between inspections at VTNZ stations, and were available in varying levels of depth and cost.

Longer periods between warrants could mean people were landed with bigger car troubles than they expected when it came time for their warrant again, he said.

Manawatu Standard