New Heavy Vehicle Brake Rules

While still coming to terms with the implications of stopping our build, we went to the road-show from Land Transport NZ explaining the implications of the new heavy vehicle brake rules. We got an invite as owners of our campervan as it is on a Certificate of Fitness (CoF). So we wanted to know what it meant as the fact sheets were all the usual mumbo jumbo. Plus we wanted to make sure our bus was going to be OK with the new rules. Plus the lovely folks from LTNZ held the road show at Larnach’s Castle near Dunedin and promised a bit of a supper. Who were we to turn down a night out, even if it meant lots of talk about brakes. Well, lucky we did.

Turns out that anything not registered by the end of June 2008 has to meet different new standards. Annex Cs don’t cut the mustard. Never mind that it was complied. Never mind that it probably has ABS brakes. It is registration or the high jump. And the word was that older vehicles like 1993 are not likely to meet the required standard. This was a bombshell for us. Nothing in all the fact sheet stuff gave any indication of this issue for vehicles in the registration no-mans land. I checked it out more specifically the next day with my local VTNZ station. They were able to confirm the registration status of our bus – it wasn’t. The good man there checked up with their truck people, who obviously wanted me to know of the potential seriousness of the situation. They wanted me to hear the words “scrap metal” and “spare parts”. Now them are memorable words!

So we got on to the conversion company and made it clear that our bus needed registration. I heard from the boss there tonight, letting us know our bus is going for a CoF on Monday, which is a relief. Seems they had got the word themselves, before we got in touch. And they are putting all their “limbo” vehicles in for their CoFs to get them registered. It seems it came as a surprise to them as well. It seems they are lucky in that everything that needs a CoF is in a position to be submitted for one. But what of any vehicle being converted that might be in no fit state to go for a CoF? Imagine if it was in the middle of engineering and not roadworthy or safe. What then? It is hard to believe that there is a risk it could end up fit only for spare parts.

How many people are converting vehicles in their back yards thinking their Annex C will get them through to registration? What if they get caught out, in ignorance? When the dust settles on all this – and there must be dust flying as vehicles from all over get rushed through CoFs – the question needs to be asked about the information given out, and the warning given of what seems like some big changes and drastic potential consequences.

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