ESC IS HERE! – Implementation to be staggered

ESC IS HERE!- Implementation to be staggered

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Posted by Richard Edwards  

on February 26th, 2014

Michael Woodhouse

Michael Woodhouse

A staggered date for the introduction of mandatory electronic stability control (ESC) implementation has been released by the associate minister of transport Michael Woodhouse this afternoon – to little fight from the market.

Under the proposal, which will open for consultation early next month, new vehicles will be required to have the technology from the end of this year, with the requirement to hit the used import market between 2016 and 2020.

The schedule is:

  • All new light passenger and goods vehicles from July 1, 2015
  • Used class MC vehicles (four-wheel-drive SUVs and off-road vehicles) from January 1, 2016
  • Used class MA vehicles (passenger cars) with engine capacity greater then 2-litres from January 1, 2018
  • All other used light passenger and goods vehicles from January 1, 2020

Information on the decision can be found HERE

“ESC has been described by the New Zealand Automobile Association and many road safety experts as the most significant advance in vehicle safety since the seatbelt,” Woodhouse says.

“Mandating this technology will significantly improve road safety in New Zealand. Research indicates ESC can reduce the risk of crashing as a result of lost control by around 30%.”

The government is forecasting the move will save 432 lives over the next two decades.

Woodhouse noted most new vehicles already carry the technology – making it logical to mandate it early. The Motor Industry Association has already stated it wanted such a requirement.

He was seeking to bring the technology to used imports, without overly affecting supply.

“To ensure maximum safety benefits from the new technology, without choking supply from the mostly Japanese used car market, I propose a phased implementation for imported used vehiclse from 2016,” he says.

“With the added impetus under the proposed timetable, it is estimated that the overall increase in ESC fitment above current levels on our roads will prevent around 432 deaths and 1992 serious injuries over the next two decades,” Woodhouse notes.

Imported Motor Vehicle Industry Association chief executive David Vinsen says that while the association will make a submission calling for the process to be pushed back a year – overall they are pleased with the outcome.

“Firstly, we believe that proposal is workable for the whole industry – we are pleased that this announcement gives certainty to the trade,” says Vinsen. “The import industry is the leading supplier of vehicles to New Zealand families, and the proposed structure makes this technology available in good time, and in an affordable way.

“We would like to have seen the implementation dates further out, but we believe that the proposed schedule of start dates is workable for the used vehicle industry, particularly as we have been given notice in good time,” Vinsen says.

Vinsen says they have worked closely, and positively, with officials on the issue and so expected the outcome. With the forward planning time he does not believe his members’ businesses will be unduly affected.

MTA spokesperson Ian Stronach calls the staggered introduction both pragmatic and entirely sensible.

“By providing a timetable for introduction up front, government will allow the industry plenty of time to prepare and make the necessary changes,” says Stronach. “The timetable recognises both the differing needs by vehicle type, and the fact that some classes of vehicle are already more likely to have it included as standard.”

The association does not expect the introduction of these changes will have a significant effect on prices, but it could affect availability of some used import models.

“Many new cars already have ESC, but in the case of used imports, it will be more a matter of sourcing suitable vehicles,” he says. “In some cases, these may need to be newer models and thus may be slightly more expensive than models without.”

Woodhouse has welcomed the input to the process already made by the industry.

“I have been grateful for the input into the proposals from both the used and new motor vehicle industries, and I look forward to further feedback when public consultation opens on the draft Rule in early March.”

Motor Industry Association chief executive has not yet been available for comment.

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