Join Date: May 2001
Location: Somewhere over the rainbow
Law may force 4WD owners to fit new bullbars
Thousands of four-wheel drive owners across Australia may be forced to fit smaller bullbars to their vehicles as governments face increased pressure to enforce design laws because of safety fears.
The NSW Minister for
Transport, Carl Scully, announced yesterday that he wanted a national approach to the issue, including improved designs for bullbars on four-wheel drive vehicles driven in the city.
And the public action group, the Pedestrian Council of Australia, warned there would be major insurance ramifications unless governments acted to force retrospective standards on all vehicles with bullbars.
Mr Scully said he would raise the issue at the Council of
Australian Transport Ministers when it met next week to ensure a co-ordinated, Australia-wide approach to making four-wheel drives safer.
"The issues to be discussed include making a 'reverse alarm' mandatory for all new four-wheel drive vehicles, and improving the design of bullbars fitted to four-wheel drives in the future to minimise injuries to pedestrians," he said.
"In addition, the introduction of better mirrors to improve visibility for drivers of four-wheel drives when reversing will be examined.
"Four-wheel drives with bullbars have become increasingly popular and are here to stay, so we need to ensure that they are as safe as possible when being driven in the city.
"There are many areas in which the NSW Government is trying to encourage improved vehicle design to minimise road trauma."
The chairman of the Pedestrian Council of Australia, Harold Scruby, welcomed the move, and said new design standards for bullbars would soon be released by Standards Australia.
Mr Scruby, who has championed the fight against "Mad Max" bullbars, predicted there would be major legal ramifications, including insurance claims, unless governments took a tough stance.
"We welcome the comments of Mr Scully, especially as we will soon have a Standards Australia design on bullbars," Mr Scruby said.
"It will be ready within a month. We would like all vehicles, within a reasonable period of time, to be brought up to that standard.
"If anyone argues against forcing older cars to comply then I would remind people about the changes to gun laws, seat belts and random breath testing. These are just new, safer standards."
Mr Scruby said the new standard would mean a bullbar would have to fit within the original profile of the vehicle.
It could not protrude forward of the bumper bar or be wider than the vehicle.
It would also have to slope backwards, and have no sharp edges or protrusions like fishing rod holders.
"I believe that 90 per cent of current bullbars do not comply. If governments think they can ignore this issue then they should think about the insurance implications," Mr Scruby warned
You know, somebody actually complimented me on my driving today. They left a little note on the windscreen. It said, 'Parking Fine.'So that was nice.