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Road to ruin as cars fail checks

Tyre trouble: The main problem with unsafe cars in Victoria is the rubber.

A quarter of all cars on Victorian roads are unsafe, say auto repairers

General News logo15 Jul 2009

By RON HAMMERTON

ONE in four vehicles in Victoria are unsafe, with tyres the most common problem, according to a survey by the Victorian Automotive Chamber of Commerce (VACC).

The peak body for motor dealers and repairers in the southern state – which does not have NSW-style annual compulsory roadworthy checks – found that 528 out of 2189 vehicles, or 24.8 per cent, failed a five-point safety check in the six-month survey by its members.

Of the unsafe cars, 25 per cent had unsafe tyres, while other problems involved brakes, lights, steering and restraints.

According to 2008 figures from the Australia Bureau of Statistics, the average age of Australian cars is 9.9 years.

While the VACC stopped short of calling for mandatory safety checks on all cars, it said governments, employers, families and individuals needed to consider the risk posed by unsafe cars.

VACC executive director David Purchase said the figures were concerning.

“VACC believes not enough focus is put on the importance of vehicle safety. We hear a lot about road safety, but not enough about vehicle safety,” he said.

“We have to do more to encourage motorists to keep their motor vehicle safe.

“Everyone has a duty to ensure that the vehicle he or she is driving is safe. Governments, employers, families and individuals need to appreciate that every time a Victorian gets into a car, they are at risk.”

Mr Purchase said a simple five-point safety check would reduce that risk.

“New or old, your vehicle must be safe,” he said. “For people who believe they are saving money by not getting their car serviced, they should think again. A properly maintained vehicle can save you money in the long run, as an efficient performing engine saves fuel and wear-and-tear.

Mr Purchase said the VACC would continue to monitor the figures, with more results to be announced at year end.

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