ABC News Online - Friday 15 March 2002


The Pedestrian Council of Australia says the main reason for the huge increase in fatalities involving four-wheel-drive vehicles is because of low tariffs.

The Transport Safety Bureau has released a report showing an 85 per cent increase in fatalities involving four-wheel-drives in the past eight years.

Pedestrian Council chairman Harold Scruby says one reason is that four-wheel-drives are dangerous but it is also because of preferential tariffs.

Mr Scruby says while all other vehicles imported into Australia have a 15 per cent tariff applied, for four-wheel-drives it is 5 per cent, a leftover from when they were only used by farmers.

He says the Federal Government must change it.

"Just think if they did a cost-benefit analysis on putting the tariff up to 15 per cent, we would save millions, perhaps billions, in hospital and social security benefits," Mr Scruby said.

"It's just outrageous that we've got all these major gains in car safety and then we bring in these trucks and they've just become a craze and one of the major reasons they're a craze is the price," he said.

© This work is copyright and is reproduced under licence from