Illawarra Mercury - Wednesday 12 January 2005

EDITORIAL Bullbar ban long overdue

News that the Pedestrian Council of Australia has backed a campaign to ban bullbars from vehicles in urban areas is not before time.

The impetus for the campaign was the death of seven-year-old Shahid Hajher, killed when he was hit by a four-wheel drive in Kiama on January 3.

The email petition was launched by a family member on Monday and people are being urged to support it.

Surely it's time Australia's law-makers took some action, not just about bullbars, but about the proliferation of four-wheel drive vehicles in suburban areas.

Four-wheel drives account for some 20 per cent of all new car sales and the number of fatal four-wheel drive crashes has risen by 85 per cent in the past nine years.

Truck drivers need special licences and additional training. So should four-wheel drivers.

The French have come up with a sensible road tax scheme which will add a surcharge up to $6000 to the cost of new four-wheel drive models while rewarding drivers who opt for smaller, cleaner vehicles with payouts of as much as $1200.

The scheme is aimed at cutting back on pollution, but it's been noted it will also cut back on road deaths.

It's time Australia also moved to limit the numbers of four-wheel drives on suburban roads.