NZTA – Not in control?
In Issue 51 Editorial you expressed some frustration at the competence displayed by NZTA. For the last 20 years I have had the displeasure of being a Heavy Vehicle Certifier trying to implement the garbage emulating from Wellington.
Since 1991 with the introduction of a Braking Standard for heavy vehicles, there have been errors in the standard (Law). Despite two revisions, the errors remained. One could assume that to correct the errors parliament would need to be advised as the corrections would need to go through parliament. We wouldn’t want to expose our incompetence would we? The NZTA solution was for their minions to issue directives changing the law. Do we need parliament making law when there are eager minions who are willing to take on the mantel?
It is obvious that NZTA is unable to keep up with the rapid change in technology and have to resort to reading sales brochures or listening to suppliers with a vested interest. Take the latest aberration that new and used cars coming into the country must have ESP fitted.
Hopefully they have listened to the Classic Car community and exempt this type of “used car”. Would be a bit of a challenge to fit ESP to the Model T I want to import. While ESP is certainly a good thing to have, do we need to introduce law imposing it on the motoring public? As a senior person from NZTA said on TV “it has the potential to reduce the road toll”. There are no hard statistics available to confirm that ESP will reduce the road toll. Surely the number of new & used cars coming in with ESP fitted, our roads will quickly be inundated with ESP equipped vehicles without ramming it down our throats.
NZTA have a history of introducing so called new technologies just because other countries have it.
An example – to pacify a local supplier, a new means of parking heavy trailers was introduced. This new system put extreme pressure on the brake actuators which started prematurely failing; a new problem. By the time this came to light, 700 trailers had been put on the road so the die was cast and there is no way back without parliament finding out. Think of the taxpayer funded rework costs. In the last month I have driven around both Islands, something I haven’t done for years. I am appalled at the number of skid marks made by truck wheels locking up particularly along SH1 in the North Island. There is obviously some sort of a problem. ABS is prevalent so one can assume these skids are caused by the park brake applying. Is it related? Do NZTA know or want to know?
This all comes into perspective when you take into account this statement from a senior NZTA person at a meeting with Road Transport Engineers. “We are charged with the responsibility to regulate and we will be seen to be regulating”! It appears this is so even if they don’t know what they are doing. Ralph Hume Howick TH ESP was almost the cause of my having a very high speed accident in Germany a few years ago. I was following my friends into Frankfurt for dinner. We were on the A5 Autobahn and sitting just under 200 km/h on a sweeping corner when up ahead a BMW had a nose-to-tail in the slow lane. As happens over there, everyone hit their hazard lights and slowed dramatically, which would not have been a problem except that when I braked hard the ESP wanted me to pull up in a straight line. Not a good thing when I was in a corner… I came within a gnat’s whisker of taking out the side of the car in the lane alongside me. So I don’t like it, I don’t trust it, if I am in a car with it, I turn it off and I will look after my own accident, thank you very much!