NZTA looks at changing widely condemned rules for large vehicles

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Words: Matthew Hansen
27 Jul 2021

After months of criticism from large vehicle owners across the country, the Waka Kotahi New Zealand Transport Agency has confirmed that it’s open to changing one of the most controversial recent rule changes in the country.

In April the NZTA enacted new legislation around brakes and modifications, prompting operators to have any 3.5-tonne-or-heavier cabs be re-certified if they had been modified — and implicating a long list of trucks that operators perceived to be safe as well as selected brand new trucks.

According to RNZ, some truck owners have since been quoted between $17,000 and $30,000 to get their vehicles rechecked by specialist engineers, with others simply getting rejected when applying for a Certificate of Fitness. Numerous operators have said the legislation was causing wide economic harm.

The rule is particularly impactful for campervan and horse float owners and operators, since most utilise vehicles that are inherently modified from standard in order to accommodate their added features and accessories.

Now, the NZTA has responded, stating that it’s aware of the impact the change has had.

"We are conscious of the impact this is having on vehicle owners. While the land transport rules have required for many years that modified vehicles must remain safe, information provided to inspecting organisations in relation to cab modifications has been ambiguous,” it said in a statement released to RNZ.

"Any changes to the structure of the cab can increase the risk to the safety of people within the cab. [...] Many vehicles have been appropriately modified and we are aware that some were not.”

It added that it "acknowledges that more collaboration and work is needed to resolve this issue in the interests of the safety of all road users. Our aim is to find an appropriate balance between the risk to safety and impact to vehicle owners."

A VTNZ staffer reportedly told one campervan owner who recently failed their CoF that as many as 35,000 vehicles could be affected by the rule change and its costs over time.

 

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