ABC News Online - Saturday 16 March 2002

Govt asked to increase tariff on 'trucks dressed up as cars'

The Pedestrian Council of Australia is calling on the Federal Government to change the import tariff on four-wheel drives.

A report by the Transport Safety Bureau linked the increasing popularity of four wheel drives to an 85 per cent rise in fatal crashes across Australia.

The Pedestrian Council's chairman, Harold Scruby, says while most imported vehicles have a 15 per cent tariff, four-wheel drives only attract a 5 per cent tariff.

He says the effect of the tariff is that more Australians are buying the cars, putting themselves at risk of being killed or injured.

"There's a craze going on at the moment," he said.

"People seem to think that four-wheel drives are safe.

"They're not safe - they take 10 metres longer to stop than an ordinary passenger car, they protrude right through the sides of any small to medium car in a side impact.

"They're just really dangerous, they're not cars, they're trucks made to look like cars."
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