Monday 23 September 2002

The Chairman of the PCA, Mr Harold Scruby today called on all state and territory governments to adopt the new “bullbar” Australian Standard - AS 4876.1-2002 - Motor vehicle frontal protection system”.

Mr Scruby said; “This standard has taken nearly 8 years to develop. The committee has included all major stakeholders, including the PCA and the standard has been agreed upon by all participants.

He said: “Apart from the extraordinary and inordinate amount of death, injury, grief and suffering caused by bullbars to pedestrians and the occupants of motor vehicles (let alone the damage to property), the former Federal Office of Road Safety (FORS), now the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) expressed their serious concerns about these devices. Their study states (quote): ‘ROAD SAFETY REPORT CR200 - Bull Bars and Road Trauma - December 2000 - ESTIMATION OF EXTRA RISK - There have been several different approaches in the literature in estimating the contribution of bull bars to road casualty statistics. A short report by FORS (Monograph 7, 1996) examined Australian fatal crash data for pedestrians for the year 1992. It states that bull bars were involved in 12% of fatal pedestrian crashes in 1992, but it was estimated that bull bar involvement could be as high as 20%, due to the large amount of missing information on bull bar statistics in the Fatality Crash Database.’

Mr Scruby added: “It will not be good enough for governments to simply adopt this standard for new vehicles. All new vehicles must comply without delay. But more importantly, this standard must be prospectively regulated, like gun laws, seat-belt laws and environmental laws and require ALL bullbars to comply with this standard within a reasonable period of time – but no longer than 3 years. From then, it must be vigorously enforced and stiff penalties must apply.

“The Australian Design Rule 42.9.1 has been law since 1988 and states: ‘No vehicle shall be equipped with any object or fitting, not technically essential which protrudes from any part of the vehicle so that it is likely to increase the risk of bodily injury to any person.’ The new Australian Standard now adds a precise technical specification to the ADR. Motorists should understand that if they continue to drive vehicles equipped with bullbars which fail to comply with ADR 42.9.1, they could potentially be sued for significant damages if they kill or injure any human being (pedestrian or motorist).

Mr Scruby quoted Mr John Forsyth of the Australian Automotive Aftermarket Association (representing the manufacturers of bullbars) who said: “The Standard will make sure that bull bars are safer for all road users. By outlining performance requirements that have to be met by our members it will encourage them to innovate and redesign their products. We are also hoping that the regulatory authorities will pick up on the Standard and help to ensure that it is enforced.”

A copy of the Standards Australia Media Release of today’s date is attached. Further information is available at: Search: “bullbar”.

Harold Scruby - Chairman/CEO – Pedestrian Council of Australia - Tel: (02) 9968-4555 (0418) 110-011
Email: Internet:


Monday 23 September 2002

New National Bull Bar Safety Standards

Standards Australia has released a new safety Standard designed to help reduce the danger that some vehicle frontal protection systems or bull bar’s may pose to pedestrians and motorists.

“This new Australian Standard has been developed in consultation with industry, government and community groups and will go a long way towards improving pedestrian safety in Australia,” John Henry of Standards Australia, said today.

“Up to now, the public debate about bull bars has been polarised. Some people have called for a ban on their use because of safety concerns and others have sought to maintain the status quo because of the risk of animal strike, especially in rural areas. Unfortunately, this debate has been focussed on the traditional type of bull bars and little attention has been paid to the possibility of developing new approaches to protecting the front of vehicles that take account of pedestrian safety.”

“Just as the Australian Design Rules have led to a progressive redesign of the front of the family car to make it less likely to injure pedestrians in the event of an accident, so we have sought to apply the same type of approach by setting a national safety Standard for bull bars.”

“The Standard recommends that, in future, bull bars are designed to better align with the overall profile of the vehicle and that dangerous projections, like fishing rod holders, are not located where they can contact pedestrians. As well, in case a person is contacted, bull bars will need to meet stringent impact criteria in a simulated accident situation. We expect that this will lead to a new range of safer products coming onto the market that are better designed and employ more pedestrian-friendly materials. “

According to the Australian Automobile Association’s Director Technical Services, Mr David Lang: “This Standard is a significant step forwarding bringing about a holistic approach to improving road user safety.”

“Although the risk of animal impact in urban areas is relatively low, the Standard recognises that in some remote areas of Australia a suitably designed bull bars are appropriate.”

According to the Chief Executive of the National Roads and Motorists’ Association Limited [NRMA], Mr Rob Carter: “The NRMA welcomes the Standard as a positive step towards making vehicles with bull bars safer for Australian pedestrians and motorists.”

Also welcoming the new Standards Mr Gary Retallick of the Association of Rotational Moulders Australasia said: “Dangerous metal bull bars have been around for too long and the new Standard will make them accountable for pedestrians.”

The Australian Automotive Aftermarket Association’s Mr John Forsyth, said: “The Standard will make sure that bull bars are safer for all road users. By outlining performance requirements that have to be met by our members it will encourage them to innovate and redesign their products. We are also hoping that the regulatory authorities will pick up on the Standard and help to ensure that it is enforced.”

Organisations involved in the development of the Standard include: the Association of Rotational Moulders Australasia, the Australian Automobile Association, the Australian Automotive Aftermarket Association, the Australian Industry Group, AUSTROADS, the Australian Motor Vehicle Certification Board, the Consumers’ Federation of Australia, the Ergonomics Society of Australia, the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries, the Land Transport Safety Authority – New Zealand, the Motor Trades Association of Australia, the New Zealand Employers and Manufacturers Association, the Pedestrian Council of Australia, the Society of Automotive Engineers Australasia, The University of Melbourne, The University of Adelaide, and the Victorian Automobile Chamber of Commerce.

The Standard is titled AS4876.1-2002 Motor vehicle frontal protection systems Part 1: Road user protection and costs $44.88 (hard copy) or $40.39 (to download). The Standard can be downloaded from our website or you can call our customer service centre on 1300 65 46 46.

Media Inquiries:

Standards Australia - Phone: (02) 8206-6863 - Out of hours phone: (0414) 191-034

See also Sunday Telegraph - Sunday 22 September 2002