Motorist Colleen Sippo looking at her car that was damaged by a tree during a storm at The Gap, Queensland.
Motorist Colleen Sippo looking at her car that was damaged by a tree during a storm at The Gap, Queensland.

State ignored own advice on written-off cars

TENS of thousands of unsafe written-off vehicles would never have been returned to Queensland's roads had the Department of Transport heeded its own advice almost a decade ago.

The TMR acknowledged the need for repair inspections in 2010 after it called for feedback on how to improve the Queensland Written-Off Vehicle (WOV) Register in late 2009.

The questions posed in that survey are similar to the current survey which closes on July 31.

However, the Bligh Labor government never followed through.

The Motor Trades Association of Queensland had called for national uniformity in the treatment of WOVs, to reduce/eliminate rebirthing, define which parts can be reused from a WOV and improve the integrity of repairs.

 

MTAQ CEO Dr Brett Dale
MTAQ CEO Dr Brett Dale

An email sent by the TMR to the MTAQ in February 2010 acknowledges the need for change in the inspection of the repairs of WOV.

"The Department of Transport and Main Roads supports continued improvement in repair processes and consistency in standards and recognition of this through training and accreditation," the email stated.

"The Department is monitoring repair standards and inspection developments at the national and state level and these will be considered in the development of future policy where there is the potential to influence direction in Queensland."

MTAQ CEO Dr Brett Dale said a vehicle's safety was paramount and there needed to a be a quality control system governing WOV.

"They made a commitment (in 2010) but never followed through," Mr Dale said.

"There were some enhancements done over years since then, but this issue has never died."

Dr Dale said the current unregulated environment allowed people to buy at auction and do their own repairs in their own back yard.

He said a large proportion of repaired cars would be safe but knowing which cars were repaired correctly and which ones weren't was the issue.

"The Government hasn't got to the point where Queenslanders can be assured that repairable write-offs are safe," he said.

Some 11,000 written-off vehicles alone were re-registered in Queensland in 2018. File picture
Some 11,000 written-off vehicles alone were re-registered in Queensland in 2018. File picture

Some 11,000 written-off vehicles were re-registered last year and a TMR spokesman said the inspection of a WOV included a roadworthy and an ID check to prevent stolen cars being "rebirthed".

The lax laws in Queensland are under review by TMR to bring them into line with other states which is similar to the proposal put forward in November 2009.

In NSW, written-off vehicles are predominantly banned, and in Victoria, must undergo a thorough quality of repair inspection.

The way to identify a written-off vehicle in Queensland is for potential buyers to do an online Personal Properties Security Register check, which flag cars as repairable write-offs.

The TMR review has asked for submissions from all interested parties, such as insurers, vehicle repairers and industry bodies, by the end of July before it makes any changes.

"We are looking at strengthening the current vehicle repair process with additional requirements, such as extra inspections or certifications," a TMR spokesman said.


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