Tough new bullbar law for NSW

Sunday Telegraph

Sunday 29 September 2002

By transport writer ROD SMITH

ALL bullbars fitted on NSW cars and four-wheel-drive vehicles from next year will have to meet strict new safety standards.

Less than a week after the release of the new Australian Standard for bullbars, Transport Minister Carl Scully said he would look at making it law in NSW from next year.

But the standard will apply only to new vehicles.

"The minister has been a strong advocate for changes in bullbar standards," a spokesman said.

"He is considering the new Standard with a view to making the standard compulsory for new vehicles from next year."

Last week The Sunday Telegraph revealed exclusively that under the new standard for "motor vehicle front protection systems", bullbars needed to, be low-profile and contour-hugging.

The Pedestrian Council of Australia (PCA) said the proposed NSW law would do little to remove hundreds of bullbars from vehicles already on the road.

"We certainly won't remain silent until the Mad Max-style bullbars are off our roads," PCA chairman Harold Scruby said.

"It's up to the Roads and Traffic Authority and police to make sure that these standards are set.

"It will be impossible to achieve the RTA's commitment, to the safest roads in Australian by 2020, unless all bullbars comply."

Forensic engineer John Jamieson, an independent crash investigator, said the new standard would save lives, but more would be saved if the law was retrospective.

"The new standard is a big improvement - the fact that they went to the time and expense to set up a standard was a political ,reality," he said.

"Bullbars butcher people. I've seen cases where they've taken half a child's head off."
Mr Jamieson said he had seen "hundreds" of people killed or maimed by bullbars in 20 years of working in the road accident field.

"Every week there's a pedestrian crash involving a bullbar," he said. Mr Jamieson said that annual vehicle checks gave the NSW Government the ability to quickly phase out non-standard bullbars, in the same way that seatbelts were phased in.

"They should insist, when cars come in to be checked, that bullbars comply with the new standard or the vehicle doesn't get registered," he said.

Standards Australia took six years to develop the new design standard, in consultation with industry groups and State and federal government departments.