Action on poorly-repaired trucks long overdue: MP

NSW MP wants stricter controls on trucks, as government pushes for bans on badly damaged vehicles

By Brad Gardner | October 26, 2010

A NSW MP has called for stricter controls on the trucking industry in the wake of government efforts to ban badly damaged cars from the road network.

Hawkesbury MP Ray Williams wants a Bill prohibiting repaired written-off light vehicles from being re-registered on NSW roads to be extended to the heavy vehicle sector.

A former panel beater, Williams has labelled the Bill a "failure" because trucks are excluded.

"Many trucks on our roads tonight have been repaired in backyards because nothing is in place to demand that they be repaired and presented for re-registration by registered and qualified panel beaters," Williams says.

Once the Bill is passed, light vehicle repairs will need to be certified by a licensed repairer and undergo inspections before being allowed back on the road.

"That is a failure of this legislation. In the future we need to ensure that we impose the same standards on heavy vehicles that we impose on light vehicles," Williams says.

Referring to his time as a panel beater, Williams told the NSW Parliament trucks must undergo a series of tests to ensure they are roadworthy.

"I state categorically that the only way to check whether the integrity of a heavy vehicle's important safety aspects are intact is to crack test them and undertake specialised testing to ensure that a fault will not be encountered down the track," Williams says.

"When a heavy vehicle has an accident, especially major accidents involving rollovers or where vehicles end up on their sides, there is stress to much of the vehicle's structure—tie rod ends, steering arms or steering boxes."

Despite his concerns, Williams joined his Opposition colleagues in supporting the Bill, which is also designed to reduce shonky companies from selling poorly repaired vehicles.

The Government wants to apply the restrictions to vehicles that are over 15 years of age and registered in the national database of written-off vehicles.

"Once a vehicle is repaired, it will be inspected by a licensed repairer who must certify that the standard of repairs and the repair methods used are in accordance with the legislation, regulations and so on," Roads Minister David Borger says.

Opposition spokesman on roads Andrew Stoner criticised the Government’s approach to act alone, saying the issue must be dealt with on a national level or illegal repairs will simply shift interstate.

"It is a national issue that should have a coordinated national response," Stoner says.

Borger says NSW is showing leadership and hopes other jurisdictions will follow its lead.

Castle Hill MP Michael Richardson also questioned the Government’s decision to not apply the Bill retrospectively. He says a large number of damaged vehicles are already being purchased before the Bill becomes law.

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