Proposed laws to toughen the government’s ability to enforce vehicle safety recalls will also include mandatory recalls for non-compliance.
If the federal Road Vehicle Standards Bills are passed, the Australian Competitions and Consumer Commission will be able to clamp down on cheap Asian imports that flout our compliance rules.
While there have been many recalls every year for motorcycle importers, the ACCC says that all motor vehicle recalls to date have been voluntary and they have never been required to make mandatory recalls.
However, in September 2017, a Proposed Recall Notice was issued for mandatory recalls of all vehicles with specified Takata airbag inflators and specified salvaged Takata airbag inflators.
At the conclusion of the consultation period, the ACCC will make a recommendation as to whether to proceed with mandatory recalls.
The ACCC currently has powers under Australian Consumer Law (ACL) to mandate recalls for vehicles that pose a safety risk or do not meet safety standards.
An ACCC spokesman says the new legislation “mirrors the safety recall provisions in the ACL, allowing for the voluntary and compulsory recall of road vehicles for significant safety issues or non-compliance”.
Recalls so far issued for non-compliance have all been voluntary and usually affect cheap Chinese imports and Australian company Braaap.
“The new legislation provides additional clarity for vehicle recalls by extending coverage to non-compliance with technical standards and commercial vehicles that may not covered by the ACL, such as trucks, buses and large trailers,” the ACCC says.
The draft Bills do not make any changes to the standards for motorcycles – which are contained in the Australian Design Rules.
The Government says the Bills are designed to maintain and improve vehicle safety while expanding consumer choice and reducing red tape.
This legislation will replace the existing Motor Vehicle Standards Act which has been in place for nearly 30 years and was written at a time when much of today’s vehicle technology was not available.
The new legislation would come into effect from 2019.
The Government claims the reforms would save businesses more than $68 million a year in regulatory compliance costs.
They also say the Bills will increase consumer choice through “expanding and improving the pathways for importing specialist and enthusiast vehicles—including performance, low emissions, and mobility access vehicles”.
The Bills will be introduced and debated in the Parliament in the new year, and stakeholders will be asked to provide their feedback on the exposure drafts of the Bills and the Rules by mid-February 2018.
The Road Vehicle Standards package of Bills and information on the consultation process can be found on the Department’s website at infrastructure.gov.au/vehicles/mv_standards_act.
Australia’s peak motor industry body, the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries, (FCAI), welcomes the Bills.
FCAI Chief Executive Tony Weber says the Bills provide a framework to ensure Australians have access to world quality vehicles with the latest safety and environmental features.
“This legislation would ensure our vehicles are fit for purpose, built for our market conditions, and underpinned by established consumer support mechanisms,” he says.
“Our industry has always welcomed competition because that’s what delivers value for the consumer. This proposed legislation provides a robust structure which also safeguards the interests of the consumer.”
Recall notices are issued by the manufacturer through a voluntary industry code under the ACCC.
Despite hundreds of recalls by various automotive manufacturers, none has ever been mandatory. All have been issued by the manufacturer.
While any recall is not good news for the manufacturer, it shows that they are largely diligent in fixing problems.
If you believe there is an endemic problem with your bike that should be recalled, contact the ACCC on 1300 302 502.
To check whether your motorcycle has been recalled, click on these sites: