State Labor has called for a community education campaign as part of the current review into bullbar regulations saying that rural motorists are inadvertently buying dangerous ones beyond the Australian design standard.
Last week, the State Government was forced to announce a review of the 2003 bullbar regulations by the NSW Vehicle Standards Working Group.
This was after a police blitz in the New England, Barwon and North Coast in late-July – which sparked an adverse community response in those regions. Almost 40 vehicles received notices from local police – facing fines up to $623. (They are given a defect notice and have a week to remove or replace the illegal bullbar.)
State Labor opposed an outright ban on bullbars as they saved lives in country areas. However, State Labor said the State Government had a responsibility to inform motorists of their shared responsibility on our roads.
State Labor also rejected a ban on bullbars in Sydney, Wollongong or Newcastle saying that it would be impossible to enforce and was impractical.
Cars with bullbars driving in the city were mainly country families visiting the city for business or pleasure, or people with country properties.
The 2003 standard was introduced to reduce injuries to pedestrians and other motorists.
Shadow Roads Minister Walt Secord said: “In rural and regional areas, due to kangaroos and the growing number of feral pigs, bullbars are a necessity and are not fashion accessories. They save lives. Therefore, Labor does not support a ban.”
“This is a complex area and motorists need the right information. Oversized bullbars minimise the positive effect of air bags and crumple zones on cars – putting other drivers in danger.
“Furthermore, there are some brands that push animals and pedestrians under the vehicle – which cause vehicles to overturn.
“The overwhelming number of bullbars are legal in NSW – but some of the illegal ones have come from Queensland.
“Legal bullbars do not have sharp edges and slope back towards the vehicle, cushioning the impact. They also must not make the vehicle wider and cannot come up over the bonnet.
“Five poster variety bullbars have been illegal since 2003 under Australian design standards.
“We are completely aware to what would happen if a bullbar hits a pedestrian, but we must also take into account rural families driving home at dusk that hit a kangaroo or feral pig.”