Alan Edwards, owner of Five Mile Smash Repairs, South Grafton, with his “good as new” Toyota Hilux, originally a write-off which he has restored. Under new laws in NSW, most written-off vehicles, even those which could be repaired, are banned from being re-registered.
Alan Edwards, owner of Five Mile Smash Repairs, South Grafton, with his “good as new” Toyota Hilux, originally a write-off which he has restored. Under new laws in NSW, most written-off vehicles, even those which could be repaired, are banned from being re-registered. JoJo Newby

RTA tightens rules on write-offs

SEVEN months after controversial changes came into effect regarding the repair of written-off vehicles in NSW, the Roads and Traffic Authority (RTA) has tightened the rules further.

The RTA says new rules will will reduce the practice of written-off cars being repaired with stolen parts and make sure write-offs which are repaired are roadworthy.

The first round of changes, which came into effect on January 31 this year, meant all NSW-insured cars deemed as being write-offs could no longer be registered and could only be used for spare parts.

The legislation allowed owners of written-off vehicles to appeal to have their cars repaired if they met special conditions and passed a raft of safety checks.

However further changes, which came into effect from August 1, require owners of written-off vehicles – which are given this special permission – to also obtain a certificate of compliance from a licensed repairer before it can be registered.

“A vehicle does not need to be repaired by a licensed repairer,” an RTA representative said.

“The RTA will register the repaired vehicle if it passes a mechanical safety inspection, identity inspection and is issued with a certificate of compliance by a licensed repairer.

"The vehicle must also be inspected by an AUVIS (Authorised Unregistered Vehicle Inspection Station).

“The requirement for all repaired written-off vehicles to have a certificate of compliance from a licensed repairer aims to assure the community the vehicle has been repaired safely.”

However the changes, which still prevent the vast majority of written-off cars, including those with only cosmetic damage, from being registered, will be of little comfort to local wreckers and smash repairers who are now having to operate without the “bread-and-butter,” income of fixing-up and selling repairable write-offs.

Alan Edwards, owner and operator of Five Mile Smash Repairs, South Grafton, said the latest changes would have little or no effect on his business which relied on fixing up and selling repairable write-offs as a back-up source of income.

Mr Edwards said if the government wanted to crack down on unroadworthy repaired written-off cars being on the road and the illegal parts trade, then putting a blanket ban on registering all repairable write-off vehicles was like “taking a sledgehammer to a problem which could be fixed with a panel hammer".

“If a car is written off and it’s repairable, let it be classed as repairable, but make it a requirement that a licensed repairer fix it,” Mr Edwards said.

“But maybe categorise them though, so if you’ve got structural damage, only the shops with the equipment to handle that would be allowed to buy those vehicles and fix them up.”

Mr Edwards said with the right skills and equipment, many vehicles classed as repairable write-offs could be done up to be as safe or even safer as any other cars on the road.

However with the current laws, he said many of these vehicles will now just end up in landfill instead.



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