The NSW Government’s Centre for Road Safety has put together some new standards for bull bar safety.
These standards mean that as of September 2019, drivers will have to use four-post bull bars.
While these are enough for city drivers, country road users are unhappy with the changes and are calling for an exemption to the rules.
Under the new road safety standards, all new bullbars sold must meet the new four-post or smaller requirements.
Drivers have a grace period, until September 2019, during which they may continue to use older bull bars that do not meet the new standards.
There are concerns that these rules will spread to other states of Australia also.
Bullbars and Driver Safety
The grace period is intended to give people a chance to upgrade to newer, safer bullbars.
The police say that questionable bullbars put both drivers and pedestrians at risk.
They compromise the safety features in the cars, making airbags and crumple zones less effective.
In addition, bullbars contribute to more than ten per cent of all pedestrian deaths.
Safety for Rural Road Users
Motorists who live or work in the countryside have petitioned for exemptions to the new rules, noting that five-post bullbars are important for their safety.
Austin Evans, a Nationals candidate for Murray, claims that five-post bullbars are necessary for people who drive on country roads where there is a lot of large wildlife.
To country drivers, bull bars are far more than a fashion accessory, and the smaller four-post bullbars are not, in his opinion, sufficient protection.
Transport for NSW responded to the initial complaints by saying that five-post bullbars are permitted on vehicles, as long as they meet the required tolerances and design restrictions.
Smaller bars with no protrusions may be acceptable, or if they do not meet the requirements then they may still qualify for an exemption.
What Makes Bull Bars Illegal?
The rules on bull bar design are quite clear. It is illegal to have:
1) Any attachment or protrusion from the bull bar that could present a danger to others on the road.
2) Winches and aerials are counted as dangerous protrusions.
It is permissible to use these in certain circumstances, however, they must be removed after any operational need has been met.
3) Sharp or ragged edges and corners are not permitted.
4) Any attachments or bull bars which block the driver’s view of the road are not permitted.
If you are a motorist who has an older bull bar, and you are not sure whether the bar is legal under the coming standards, then you should seek advice from Transport NSW if your vehicle is registered and used in NSW.
If you drive in rural areas and can show that you need to have the attachment on your vehicle then you may be able to get an exemption for it.
Most people, however, will need to ensure that their bull bars meet the new standards.
The new regulations came into effect several years ago, and the exemption period was extended to 24 months in 2017, giving people until September 2019 to meet the standards.
September will come around quickly, so you should start planning to bring your vehicle up to the latest safety standards now so that you are not caught out with an illegal attachment to your car or van.
Transport for NSW believes that the lighter, more streamlined bull bars that meet the latest safety regulations will help to protect vehicles better, and will reduce the damage that an animal strike could cause to the vehicle.
There are not currently any plans for a further extension to the exemptions, so motorists will need to educate themselves on the current regulations to avoid getting caught out.
However, in Victoria, for example, bull bars are still permitted as long as they comply with the design requirements as stipulated under Australian Standard AS 4876.1 2002 (sections 1, 2, and 3.1).
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Please call us today on (03) 9998 2504 or contact us through our website.