Brake on to slow bull bar punishment

AFTER a statewide backlash over a police crackdown on illegal bull bars, the NSW government yesterday gave drivers some breathing room. 

Minister for Roads and Freight Duncan Gay announced bull bars on light vehicles, within a reasonable tolerance of the requirements, would be given a two-year period of exemption from the vehicle registration regulations applying to bull bars in NSW. 

The issue came to a head in July when police conducted a blitz on non-compliant bars, slapping 38 drivers across the western region, including 15 in the local area, with fines and defect notices.

The five-post bull bars have been the focus of attention, withpolice saying in July they posed a risk to pedestrians in the event of an accident and exacted a toll on vehicles’ safety mechanisms. 

Mr Gay said the exemption would provide vehicle owners who had inadvertently fitted a non-complying bull bar to their vehicle or were unsure about their compliance, time to have it inspected by Roads and Maritime Services. 

“This has been a real issue in the bush and there is no simple solution,” he said. 

“But we are working to make sure vehicles on our roads are safe.” 

Mr Gay said owners would be allowed to drive with their bull bar fitted during the exemption period. 

“This exemption is about ensuring vehicle owners, who thought that they were doing the right thing, aren’t disadvantaged,” he said. 

“However, bull bars that grossly exceed the current Australian Standards that are called up by NSW regulations will not be exempt.” 

Any owners who were unsure or who had already received a defect notice for a bull bar they believed should be exempt, should then have the vehicle inspected at an RMS-authorised vehicle inspection station, Mr Gay said. 

Tamworth MP Kevin Anderson welcomed the announcement, saying his office had been inundated with complaints from people with the five-post bars.

“There’s been genuine concern from people who have purchased these bull bars in good faith and are now the subject of a police compliance campaign. We need to make sure they are looked after,” he said.

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