The NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) and Police carried out two operations in Tauranga last week to get unsafe and illegal vehicles off the roads.
Last Thursday, NZTA officers and the Police Commercial Vehicle Investigation Unit carried out Operation Vision to check the warrant of fitness (WoF) and road user charges on private and light diesel commercial vehicles. Approximately 150 vehicles were stopped at six locations throughout the city. Eighteen were ordered off the road and 37 infringements were identified for follow- up action.
NZTA’s Acting Regional Manager of Access and Use, Iain Rossiter noted the light trailers of lawn-mowing companies stood out as being problematic with one found not to have had a WoF since 2004.
Operation Checkup hit the streets on Friday night to check the compliance of modified vehicles. Fourteen of the vehicles stopped were directed to a vehicle testing station for closer inspection.
Most of those stopped were found to have some form of illegal modification. These included lowered or welded suspension, uncertified seat modifications, illegal exhaust volume, lapsed registration, defective steering and suspensions.
NZTA enforcement officers ‘green stickered’ seven cars meaning they could be driven directly home or to a place of repair along a pre-determined route and at a set speed. Another five cars found to be unsafe were ‘pink stickered’ and ordered off the road immediately. One vehicle had its licence plates removed as its registration had lapsed more than 12 months ago.
“The most dangerous thing officers discovered was the car with its differential welded. This seriously affects the car’s handling and ability to turn corners safely,” says Mr Rossiter.
“It’s part of our role to ensure vehicles on the road are safe and legal. While it is not illegal to modify your car, the law says any changes you make must not put you or others at increased risk when you're on the road. We’ll continue to target illegally modified or otherwise unsafe cars until everyone gets the message – vehicle safety requirements and licensing are non-negotiable.”
The Acting Officer in Charge of Road Policing for Western Bay of Plenty Police (WBOP), senior sergeant Mark Holmes, says Police and the NZTA have further joint operations planned for the area over coming months.
"Uncertified modified vehicles and the actions of their owners/drivers are traditionally a problem in WBOP and particularly over the summer holiday periods.
"The NZTA and Police will continue to ensure all vehicles comply with vehicle safety standards to ensure the safety of all road users."
Safe cars are part of the government’s Safer Journeys/Safe System approach. The four pillars of the system are; safe users, safe vehicles, safe speeds, and safe roads and roadsides.