Improvements to vehicle technology and the changes to the Australian vehicle market have led the Australian Government to replace the legislation governing the safety, environmental and anti-theft performance of new cars.
The government is now consulting stakeholders, including fleet management organisations like Fleetcare, on the legislation before it goes to the parliament in 2018. The legislation is then planned to come into effect in 2019.
We're particularly interested in the sections of the legislation that cover vehicle safety recalls. Safety recalls can be an extremely complex undertaking as the recent case of the faulty Takata airbags demonstrated. In the Takata case millions of vehicles from a number of different manufacturers were subject to a recall across Australia as part of a global action against airbags with a potentially lethal defect.
According to the government the new legislation "mirrors the safety recall provisions in the Australian Consumer Law (ACL), and extends it to cover non-compliance with technical standards and vehicles not covered by the ACL, such as trucks, buses and large trailers."
The legislation will force mandatory recalls for serious safety issues like the Takata airbags fault, but it remains to be seen how non-compliance with such recalls will be dealt with.
Non-compliance is a very real problem. In the Takata airbags case approximately 2.49 million vehicles have been voluntarily recalled, yet the overall replacement rate for airbags is just 38 per cent, and in the case of one manufacturer just 17 per cent.
It's a situation the government is keen to put an end to and is prepared to wield a big stick to achieve it. The proposed legislation will see car companies and "vehicle providers" fined between $210,000 and $1.1 million for selling a vehicle that has not had compulsory safety work completed.
Fleetcare always takes recalls seriously whether your car is still under warranty or not. We strive to make recalls as hassle-free as possible by explaining the problem in plain terms and what needs to be done to fix it. We'll minimise disruption by scheduling work at a time that suits you and even organise a temporary replacement vehicle if it's needed. And you can rest assured that we monitor all work and let you know the outcome.