Governments Should Move to Safer Vehicle Fleets
Australia’s peak motoring body, the Australian Automobile Association, has called on State and Territory Governments to ensure their vehicle fleets contain the latest safety technologies after a strong show of support by Premiers and Chief Ministers to improve vehicle safety standards.
At last week’s meeting of the Council for the Australian Federation, State Premiers agreed to back plans announced recently by the Victorian Government that all new vehicles should be fitted with Electronic Stability Control by 2011 and side curtain airbags by 2012.
Executive Director of the Australian Automobile Association, Mike Harris, today welcomed the moves but said it was important the States and Territories use their leverage as significant purchasers of fleet vehicles to expedite the manufacturers’ take-up of the safety technologies.
“What would really add some impetus would be for the various governments – including the Federal Government – to use their massive purchasing power of fleet vehicles to ensure manufacturers move as quickly as possible to bring in ESC and curtain air bags as standard.
“This announcement by the Premiers and Chief Ministers needs to be acted upon.
“Fleet vehicles represent some 50 per cent of all vehicle purchases in Australia– governments do have that capacity to influence the take-up of these safety features.
“The flow-on advantages for the consumer are clear – a move by governments to have ESC and side curtain airbags in their fleets will serve as an incentive to have the manufacturers make these safety technologies available to all consumers.
“The AAA motoring clubs recognise the importance of features such as ESC and have included it as a protocol in gaining a 5-star rating under the Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) from 2008 onwards.
“Consumers should look to ANCAP’s star ratings when making their new vehicle purchase.
“AAA believes that other safety initiatives should also be examined, such as alcohol interlocks to prevent a vehicle from being driven if the driver is over the alcohol limit; speed monitoring devices to provide drivers with in-car advice on prevailing speed limits; and safe-distance warning and speed management systems to ensure sufficient braking space.”