On Monday, 21 June 2004, the Standing Committee on Transport and Regional Services tabled its report on the inquiry into National Road Safety. The report made a number of recommendations of particular interest to members of Four Wheel Drive Australia. We respond to them below.
5.26 The Committee recommends that the Australian Government ask the Advertising Standards Board and the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries to review the voluntary code of practice with a view to a more rigorous compliance.
The Australian National Four Wheel Drive Club/Four Wheel drive Australia has been proactive in the area of lobbying both advertisers/manufactures and the government regulatory agencies and government ministers in relation to Vehicle advertising, in particular the inappropriate advertising that is currently being displayed in all forms of the media.
Four Wheel Drive Australia does not support false/misleading or inappropriate forms of vehicle advertising and we encourage all levels of government to act in relation to clear breaches of the code of practice currently in place.
The capacity of government and regulatory agencies tasked with the enforcement of this code of practice has been, to say the least, earth-shattering in its inability or unwillingness to actually enforce any form of restriction or compliance with the current code of practice or to meet any form of public standard in this issue.
It is ridiculous and unrealistic to produce advertisements that show vehicles performing stunts that clearly the vehicles are incapable of performing in day-to-day normal use. More so considering that if the owner actually imitated these stunts, the manufacturer would not honour the vehicle warranty. Such advertisements only encourage bad driving behaviour.
Four Wheel Drive Australia encourages all forms of government and regulatory agencies to ensure that public standards are met and that the enforcement of the code of practice is fully enforced.
Driver Training - Enforcement
5.58 The Committee recommends that the Australian Government, through the Australian Transport Council, urge the development of a uniform licensing system across Australia, to incorporate:
_ graduated licences for novice drivers;
_ special licenses for four wheel drive vehicles and caravans;
_ the use of demerit points to address all major traffic infringements; and
_ the suspension or loss of licences to address serious or repeated infringements.
Four Wheel Drive Australia /ANFWDC is particularly interested in the recommendation of a "Special license for Four Wheel Drive vehicles".
Section 5.44 of the recommendation report states:
Several submissions advocated special licenses for four wheel drives and caravans. In his submission, Mr Rebula advocated special license endorsements for four wheel drives as one means to curb their proliferation:
This could be introduced to discourage unnecessary use, and ensure drivers understood and could competently handle 4WD vehicles in all conditions. The standard car (2WD) test would be extended to include 'off-road' driving. People who successfully completed the test would have their license endorsed accordingly and be allowed to drive a 4WD in addition to a standard car. Existing licence holders would also need this endorsement, but could wait until their licence was due for renewal.
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