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How to Choose the Right Car Seat for Your Child

At first, the thought of choosing a car to accommodate a growing family might not occupy your mind, however, if you decide to have a child, you’ll soon need to spring into action. Because motorists are often caught short in terms of being unprepared, it’s important that you follow the right advice to ensure that you can choose the right car seat for your child.

 

What should I look for in child seats?

There are two key considerations when you start to chop for a child seat. First, you need to consider the age of your child. Secondly, you should also be conscious of their size. In most cases, you will be able to stick with a series of configurations, starting with a rearward facing seat, before move onto a forward-facing seat, and then finally, a booster seat. Make sure that the seat you are choosing is appropriate for your child, as there may be variations between each model.

Rear-facing baby seats are compulsory for infants up to 6 months old, however, you need to pick the right model based on the height of your baby. Once your child is older than 6 months, you may consider the following. Type A1 rear-facing child seats are designed for children up to 70cm tall or 9 months old. Type A2 is appropriate for children up to 80cm in height or roughly 1 year old. Rounding out the series, Type A4 rear-facing child seats are for children between 2 to 3 years of age. At the end of this period, children then progress onto forward-facing Type B seats, more or less up until the age of 4.

Seat installation is a crucial aspect when it comes to ensuring the safety of your child. Rear-facing seats should be held tightly in place with little slack, while forward-facing seats require a 5 or 6-point connection. Always pay attention to the manufacturing standards of the seat, as you should never compromise on quality. Look for the Australian Standards compliance watermark on the product.

 

What about booster seats?

Booster seats are designed for children between the age of 4 and 8 that are no longer appropriate for smaller forward-facing seats. While booster seats are also a type of forward-facing seat, they have a different categorisation, which is Type E or Type F. These seats include a belt, whereas Type B child seats described earlier, do not. If in doubt, however, speak to an expert in store who can advise on what specific solution is best for your child.

Before you head out to the shops though, double check what capacity your vehicle is equipped with to install a child seat. Does it have appropriate anchor points? Will airbags provide protection or could they potentially pose a risk? Is there adequate room to fit the seat, yet alone manoeuvre it? These are important points to consider, never compromise on safety.

Tips For After An Accident and some Funny Insurance Claims

Most people wouldn’t expect to be involved in a car accident.  There are some driving habits which some drivers do have, illegal or otherwise, that would definitely make them more prone to having an accident.  With all the modern crash-avoidance safety equipment on-board new cars crashes still happen – whether it’s your fault or someone else’s.

So, what should you do after an accident has happened?  Here are some safe procedures you can make a note of:

  • Stop the car.
  • Turn off the engine.
  • Switch the hazard lights on.
  • Check for any injuries to yourself or your passengers.
  • Call the police and an ambulance immediately if anyone is hurt or if the road is blocked.
  • Share your name and address with everyone involved if the accident caused damage or injury.
  • Swap insurance information and details with the other driver(s).
  • Take down details of any other passengers and witnesses to the accident.
  • Try to find out if the other driver is the registered owner of the vehicle, and if they are not find out who the owner of the car is and get that information too.
  • Record the make, model, colour, and number plate of the vehicles involved in the accident or take pictures of them.
  • Record the time and date of the crash.
  • Record the driving conditions, including the weather, lighting, and road quality (such as road markings, whether it’s wet or muddy, repair of the road surface).
  • Record what sort of damage was caused to the vehicles and where. Use your phone to take pictures of the scene and the damage to the cars.
  • Record any injuries to drivers, passengers, or pedestrians.
  • Record the names and contact details of any witnesses.
  • Phone your insurance company as soon as possible – ideally at the time of the accident.

After the accident, submitting a claim for car insurance can be a bit of a stressful business, and it certainly pays to double check what you have said over the phone or have written on your claim form.  Here are some genuinely funny car insurance claim statements below:

  • A pedestrian hit me and went under my car
  • As I approached an intersection a sign suddenly appeared in a place where no stop sign had ever appeared before.
  • Going to work at 7am this morning I drove out of my drive straight into a bus. The bus was 5 minutes early.
  • I collided with a stationary truck coming the other way
  • I had been driving for forty years when I fell asleep at the wheel.
  • In an attempt to kill a fly, I drove into a telephone pole.
  • I had been learning to drive with power steering. I turned the wheel to what I thought was enough and found myself in a different direction going the opposite way.
  • I had been shopping for plants all day and was on my way home. As I reached an intersection a hedge sprang up obscuring my vision and I did not see the other car.
  • I pulled away from the side of the road, glanced at my mother-in-law and headed over the embankment.
  • I saw her look at me twice. She appeared to be making slow progress when we met on impact.
  • I started to slow down but the traffic was more stationary than I thought.
  • I was on my way to the doctor with rear end trouble when my universal joint gave way causing me to have an accident.
  • I was sure the old fellow would never make it to the other side of the road when I struck him.
  • My car was legally parked as it backed into another vehicle.
  • No one was to blame for the accident but it would never have happened if the other driver had been alert.
  • The claimant had collided with a cow. The questions and answers on the claim form were – Q: What warning was given by you? A: Horn. Q: What warning was given by the other party? A: Moo.
  • The accident happened because I had one eye on the lorry in front, one eye on the pedestrian and the other on the car behind.
  • The accident occurred when I was attempting to bring my car out of a skid by steering it into the other vehicle.
  • The guy was all over the road. I had to swerve a number of times before I hit him.
  • The pedestrian had no idea which way to run as I ran over him.
  • The pedestrian ran for the pavement, but I got him.

Seat Yourself Even More Comfortably, Says JLR.

Jaguar Land Rover’s “Body Interiors Research division” is working on a morphable seat. Constant micro adjustments in the foam section of the seats thanks to a set of actuators mimic a sensation said to make a passenger feel as if they’re walking. Memory settings allow a tailoring to suit individuals.

Research indicates that a figure of around 1.4 billion are having a lifestyle which involves less and less exercise, and is leading to muscle atrophe in the back, sides, and gluteus areas. This can lead to increased damage in a fall. The rhythm of walking is known as pelvic oscillation, and the simulation of it is said to mitigate the potential of health risks from such a sedentary lifestyle.
UK research figures on a driver covering an average of 146 miles or 234km every week, meaning the technology offers huge potential to overcome the lack of pelvic oscillations.

Dr Steve Iley, Jaguar Land Rover’s Chief Medical Officer, said: “The wellbeing of our customers and employees is at the heart of all our technological research projects. We are using our engineering expertise to develop the seat of the future using innovative technologies not seen before in the automotive industry to help tackle an issue that affects people across the globe.” JLR are seen as a world leader already in this field, featuring multi-directional adjustments, massage functions and climate control fitted across the range. Jaguar Land Rover have a video that illustrates how a driving position to suit can be achieved, with areas of attention such as thigh support and spinal support, even to removing items in pockets.

Destination Zero is Jaguar Land Rover’s ambition to make societies safer and healthier, and the environment cleaner, and projects such as research into reducing the effects of motion sickness and the implementation of ultraviolet light technology to stop the spread of colds and flu are part of Jaguar Land Rover’s commitment to continually improving customer wellbeing through technological innovation.

Sales Down, Safety Up, Toll Up.

Australians are renowned for being up there in regards to take-up of technology. We expect our cars to come with the latest and greatest when it comes to audio, comfort, and importantly, safety. Items like airbags are commonplace, with even the driver’s workspace seeing more and more of a “kneebag”. Traction control has been in our cars for what feels like forever as has ABS, or anti-lock braking system. Nowadays we see letters such as RCTA, or BSW/BSA as part of a standard safety package, and more and more common is variations on AEB. By the way, that’s Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Blind Spot Warning/Alert, and Autonomous Emergency Braking.

Regardless of all of these and with new car sales (with better safety equipment) consistently exceeding a million in recent years, the Australian road toll increased in 2019. 1182 people lost their lives in 2019, 47 up on the previous year. NSW saw 352, just six more than 2018 and in spite of the extra “safety” measures taken by a government desperately seeking “Towards Zero”. Given the focus on people dying from holding a mobile phone or speeding, and with over 100,000 people pinged in a six month mobile phone camera trial, and a potential removal of signage for mobile and fixed speed cameras, “Towards Zero” has more to do with the few idiots that commit such atrocities or think tailgating is a great game than the numbers reflect.

By the way, the mobile phone trial amnesty has finished and people caught will now get a fine of $344 and a more realistic but still potentially misguided five demerit points. This is in spite of statistics finding mobile phone distractions in crashes accounting for under one percent of causes.

 

Victoria, in spite of the razor thin tolerances their speed cameras have, went from 213 to 263 in 2019. In context, as of June 2019 Victoria had a population of 6,594,804. South and Western Australia had increases, with S.A. 6 and W.A. 33 to record 113 and 164 respectively. In opposition to that, Queensland, the N.T., Tasmania and the A.C.T. went backwards in their tolls. Queensland dropped by 28 to 217, with just 35 in “the Territory”, whilst the island state had 32. The capital territory? Just 6.

Car sales in 2019 were at the lowest since 2011 but still cracked the million mark. VFACTS said 1,062,867 new vehicles were sold in 2019. Bear in mind that the safety factors in cars is increasing, yet the human element, ignorance and stupidity, cannot be dialled out.

In stark contrast to the road toll is the sharp increase in hospitalisations. Victorian hospitalisations from a result of traffic crashes have risen 38 percent between 2013 and 2019. In the same period the road toll fell 12.3 percent. Australia’s federal Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Cities and Regional Development, says that over the last ten years the toll has fallen whilst road injuries have increased. 2016’s rate of hospitalised injuries per 100,000 people was 35 times the fatality rate. Traffic crashes are the second highest cause of hospitalisations in Australia, accounting for 12 percent, behind falls (41 percent). The 38,945 hospitalisations across the country in 2016 represent a nominal increase of 3.6 percent each year since 2015.

8636 hospitalisations occurred as a result of traffic incidents in 2018, compared to 213 fatalities. Six years before the numbers were 6252 and 243. Nationally in 2018 two thirds of fatalities were in regional areas, with two thirds of hospitalisations coming from urban crashes. The reasons for the disparity are unclear, however it could be postulated that as cars become safer and people feel that their driving standards, or lack of them, will be mitigated by the vehicle safety packages, more trust, as such in items such as AEB and airbags as driving standards lower will see more crashes resulting in people being sent to hospital.

ANCAP Updates.

ANCAP, the Australasian New Car Assessment Program, has released some findings for a range of new vehicles. The standout performer amongst the latest batch of ratings is the updated Tesla Model X which is available from December 2019. It’s achieved a record-equaling high score of 98% for Adult Occupant Protection and 94% for Safety Assist. These scores closely follow the high scores recorded by its smaller sibling, the Model 3, earlier this year.

Full points were achieved for protection of the driver in all four of the full-scale vehicle crash tests (frontal offset, full width, side impact and oblique pole), full points were achieved for lane support and emergency lane keep functionality, and close to full points were awarded in each of the autonomous emergency braking (AEB) test scenarios.

“Tesla should be commended for providing a vehicle which offers very high levels of safety performance both in its physical protection of occupants as well as its ability to help avoid a crash through its active safety systems,” said ANCAP Chief Executive, James Goodwin.

The Audi A7 Sportback and Audi Q8 demonstrated good performance in all assessment areas. New SUV market entrant, the MG HS, also offered good all-round safety however testing revealed a higher risk of injury in side impact crash scenarios.

“Tested to our most stringent criteria, the MG HS scored well, yet concerns were noted for chest protection of the driver in the oblique pole test and head protection for older children in the side impact test.”

Hyundai’s new small SUV, the Venue, scored 4 stars limited by its less advanced safety assist systems. “The Venue fell shy of the 5 star safety standard we’ve come to expect from Hyundai with Marginal performance levels observed for its ability to avoid a rear-end impact with vehicles in front. This limited the Venue’s Safety Assist score to 62%,” Mr Goodwin said.

“The Venue is the first model to undertake Safety Assist performance testing in Australia, following the commissioning of a new test facility in regional NSW,” he added.

MY20 Jeep Wrangler models see autonomous emergency braking (AEB) and blind spot monitoring (BSM) functionality introduced as standard safety features across the Wrangler model range, with performance testing of these systems undertaken by ANCAP earlier this month.

“These upgrades are welcome, and I commend the local supplier for moving to provide Wrangler buyers in Australia and New Zealand with collision avoidance capability,” said Goodwin. “While a 3 star rating is still somewhat shy of the expected 5 stars, all upgraded models now have the ability to detect and assist with avoiding a crash with another vehicle – both in lower and higher speed scenarios.”“Unfortunately the upgraded AEB system fitted to updated models is not yet able to detect our most vulnerable road users in pedestrians and cyclists.” he said.

“Consumers should be aware that the structural deficiencies we saw with the originally-tested model such as A-pillar and cross-facia beam failure, footwell intrusion, high seatbelt loads and excessive pedal movement have not been addressed and remain a risk for occupants,”  he added. Active lane support functionality is also not available. The 3 star ANCAP safety rating applies to all 2 door and 4 door Wrangler variants supplied to the Australian and New Zealand markets built from November 2019.

The Mercedes-Benz CLA (Medium Car) was the top performer for 2019, achieving an overall weighted score of 90.2%. “Well done to the CLA for being named the standout performer,” said  Goodwin.

“It received a healthy five-star score, performing exceptionally well in the areas of Child Occupant Protection (92%) and Vulnerable Road User Protection (91%) where it achieved the highest scores of all vehicles rated this year.”

Top performers by vehicle category:

LIGHT CAR: Audi A1, 86.6%. MEDIUM SUV: Toyota RAV4, 88.6%. SMALL CAR: Mazda 3, 88.4%. LARGE SUV: Tesla Model X, 89.6%.

MEDIUM CAR: Mercedes-Benz CLA, 90.2%. UTILITY: Toyota Hilux, 89.0%. LARGE CAR: Audi A7, 86.0%.

VAN: Toyota HiAce, 87.4%. SMALL SUV: Lexus UX, 89.0%. PEOPLE MOVER: Toyota Granvia, 87.8%

Further details on each of the vehicles rated can be viewed on the ANCAP website:
www.ancap.com.au/safety-ratings

Drug and Alcohol Detectors Could be in All Future New Cars

With the government already doing its best to regulate many parts of our lives, they may be just about to extend that one step further via drug and alcohol detectors in all future new cars.

Hot on the heels of speed limiters, which look set to become a standard item in the not too distant future, government officials are taking a liking to the guidelines set out by the United Nations for compulsory safety devices that should feature in all new cars.

Local interest comes as the European Union looks set to implement these guidelines as early as 2022. That’s right, in just a couple of years, drug and alcohol detectors may well become standard in every new car across Europe.

With the technology still under development, there is no ‘sure’ indication at this stage. However, with Australia often seen following in the footsteps of the international community for road safety practices, the odds are certainly pointing to a similar roll-out in Australia sooner or later.

 

Is there a societal dilemma?

Many motorists are likely to be shocked by the potential measure, with such requirements sure to draw the ire of those who value their driving flexibility and independence, without the state being required to intervene and tell them otherwise.

Sure, the intentions behind this sort of technology are positive. After all, as much as a quarter of all deaths on the road involve motorists under the influence of alcohol. No one is doubting the tragic circumstances that entail a vast proportion of road trauma connected to one form of illicit substance or another.

However, what is likely to be a point of consternation is the fact that law-abiding citizens will need to have the government effectively police them when they are already in control of their own actions.

 

 

How would the technology work?

Picturing the scene, by now you’re probably imagining some sort of breathalyser device that you would need to engage with every time you step into the car, right? Fortunately, the technology under development is expected to be far more sophisticated and ‘seamless’ than that.

It would rely on sensors affixed to the inside of the driver’s side door and on the steering wheel. These sensors, which would be configured to focus solely on the driver, would use infrared light to detect whether any ethanol or carbon dioxide is being picked up in the air from your breath.

But while this is the end goal, in the meantime, no one can say with any certainty that the government won’t instead opt for more ‘established’ technology in the form of those interlock systems, or sensor pads that assess the presence of illicit substances via ‘touch’.

But at the end of the day, with various pieces of technology under trial locally right now, it is looking less likely to be a case of if something will be done, and rather a case of when will the government intervene in our lives once again?

 

What Important Equipment Should I Keep in my Car?

Summer can be a prolific time for maintenance related breakdowns, what with the extreme temperatures around the country. Although we pray we’ll never find ourselves in a situation where we require roadside assistance, it’s wise to make sure that you are prepared for anything that could go wrong. Today we’ll cover some of the most important equipment you should keep in your car.

 

Dash cam: An increasingly common sight in vehicles across the board, dash cams are an invaluable item to record events on the road. In the event you find yourself in an accident, dash cam footage will prove crucial evidence as part of your insurance claim.

GPS: Although many cars these days will feature a built-in GPS, if yours doesn’t, then it is wise to invest in a standalone one to make your life a whole lot easier

First aid kit: Keep an up-to-date first aid kit in your car at all times. That might not be enough, however, as it also pays to be trained in administering first aid

Fire extinguisher: If you encounter a fire, even though your first actions should be to call emergency services, you may also want to have a fire extinguisher at hand as a precaution

Safety triangle: If you break down, safety triangles should be set up behind your vehicle to serve as a caution to other motorists, which also goes some way towards protecting yourself as well

Tyre kit: Flat tyres and punctures can be a major frustration, however, this is actually an easy job to tackle yourself. All you need is a spare tyre, and a tyre kit, which includes a car jack, wheel brace, tyre sealant and inflation pump.

Charging cables: Given everyone now depends on their mobile phone, you will want to ensure that you have charging cables at hand so that you don’t find your battery suddenly run flat

Spare tools: It is beneficial to have a basic took kit at hand, as well as water and coolant, spare petrol tank and pump, duct tape, jumper cables and more

Comfort items: Some of the most useful items you should keep are actually comfort items, including a blanket, umbrella, raincoat, sunglasses and the like. These are not only useful from one day to another, but in the event of a breakdown.

What to do After an Accident

A traffic accident might be every driver’s worst nightmare, but unfortunately that doesn’t mean you can always avoid it. Even if through no fault of your own, many drivers will find themselves in a bingle of some sort across their driving years.

Given how unexpected such an event can be, often we’re not entirely prepared for how to respond. For some, panic and anxiety starts to set in after a car accident. Emotions will be running high, which means that sometimes we are not always thinking in a rational and coherent manner.

Here’s what you need to do after an accident on the road.

 

 

Remain calm and preserve safety

Assuming that you are uninjured, the first thing is to focus on the here and now. While it is easy for the mind to begin wondering and thinking about potential difficulties that might lie ahead, it is important that you manage to retain a sense of calmness and avoid fear or panic kicking in.

You will need to activate your hazard lights in order to bring awareness to other road users. If the car is obstructing traffic, and there is no immediate danger, move it off to the side so that it does not endanger yourself and other motorists. If there is an immediate danger, you should call emergency services straight away and take primary care. Once you’ve moved the car, remove the keys from the ignition.

As you prepare to exit the car, double check for any injuries that could have been masked by adrenaline rushing through your body. If you are uninjured, you should check on the wellbeing of the other parties involved. If injuries are present, dial 000 for emergency services. The police must be called if injuries are present, a party fails to exchange details, or there is a likelihood that a driver was under the influence of alcohol or drugs. More often than not, most drivers will still call the police to make a record of the accident, assuming it is more than just a fender bender.

 

Exchange details with the other party

Once you have your evidence, you must exchange details with the other party. Gather as much information as you can, with a particular emphasis on the other party’s full name, address, phone number, plus vehicle registration and details. It is also beneficial to pick up other information regarding the specific make, model and colour of the vehicle they were driving, and if possible, their licence number and insurance details. These however, are not necessarily obligatory to hand over.

You should also provide the relevant information to the other party. If a driver does not provide you with their name, address, vehicle registration plus information to identify their vehicle, you may report the accident to police.

 

Don’t admit fault

While you might be inclined to apologise for contributing to an accident, that is as far as you should go in discussing the events. Even if you know that the accident was your fault, never admit this to the other driver. It will be left to the professionals investigating the accident to conclusively determine whose fault it was, and any admission could compromise that investigation and your insurance coverage.

 

 

Collect evidence

An important part of your insurance claim will rely on the evidence you present to the insurer. As such, you will want to take several photos of the accident scene, including damage to both vehicles. The scene should extend to the nearby surrounds like any hazards or road conditions that may have contributed to the accident.

If you have a dash cam recording, it is important you save and retain this footage. You will also want to make notes of any other observations relating to the crash scene and even the other party. Speak to any witnesses in the vicinity and ask for their details if you anticipate their version of events will be required.

 

Contact your insurer

First, you’ll want to check what condition your car is in. If it has been involved in a major accident, it is likely that it will be unroadworthy and require towing. Police at the scene would confirm this. If it is a minor accident, you may be able to drive home or to your insurer’s assessment centre.

Contact your insurance company and provide a full account on the accident. They will help you walk through all the necessary steps to lodge your claim, and if required, can offer assistance with towing the vehicle. Leave it with them to investigate and at all times make sure that you cooperate honestly with regards to any details.

 

For All Mobile Phone Users

At last a serious move has been taken to nab the drivers using mobile phones illegally while driving.  New South Wales, Australia is the first place in the world to introduce mobile phone detection cameras, and these will be mounted without any warning signs saying that they are operating in the area.  The technology was invented by a University of Melbourne engineering graduate, Alexander Jannink, after a cyclist friend of his was killed in late 2013 by a driver suspected of being on a mobile phone.

During a three-month trial of the new camera at two locations in Sydney, 100,000 drivers were detected using a mobile phone illegally.  These motoring offences valued more than $34 million in fines.  Those caught in the trial were found to be browsing Facebook, text messaging and one driver was also caught allowing his passenger to steer the wheel.  Distracted drivers are very much a factor in motoring accidents, and placing the high-tech mounted cameras on our roads is a wonderful way to combat the habitual mobile phone actions of those who just can’t seem to leave their phone alone when behind the wheel.

It’s unsettling to notice drivers coming in the opposite direction with their eyes downward while on their phones.  The new cameras have been developed with sophisticated software that automatically detects if a driver is handling a phone.  The filtered images are then checked by a human eye before the weighty fine is issued.

I totally get what the NSW minister for roads and transport, Andrew Constance, recently remarked while on radio: “We want to create the same environment that we have around [random breath testing] because quite frankly using a mobile phone is equivalent to driving drunk behind the wheel.”  Other Australian states are to follow the NSW lead.

The law states that fully licenced drivers are not allowed to use any physical function of the phone while driving.  Making or receiving a call, playing audio, or using navigation maps can be done while the vehicle is parked and the engine not running.  Voice controlled smartphone mirroring apps such as Apple Car Play and Android Auto, which uses the vehicle’s infotainment technology makes things a little safer.

The reality is that nobody wants to share the road with a driver who isn’t paying attention.  When we’re driving, our focus should be on the road and getting everybody in the car to the destination safely.

Here are the mobile phone fines currently enforced in Australia:

NSW mobile phone fines: $344 and five demerit points, $457 and five demerit points in school zones, points doubled during double demerit periods.

Queensland mobile phone fines: $1000 and four demerit points from 1 February 2020, currently $400 and three points. Repeat offenders receive double demerit points if caught again within 12 months from the previous offence.

Victoria mobile phone fines: $496 and four demerit points.

Australian Capital Territory mobile phone fines: $480 three demerit points for handheld phone use, $589 and four demerit points for driver using mobile device for messaging, social networking, mobile application or accessing internet.

South Australia mobile phone fines: $554 and three demerit points.

Western Australia mobile phone fines: $400 and three demerit points.

Northern Territory mobile phone fines: $500 and three demerit points.

Tasmania mobile phone fine: $336 and three demerit points.

What the New Mandatory Data Sharing Law Means for Motorists

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) recently took aim at car manufacturers. This time it wasn’t in relation to any specific mechanical controversies like the Dieselgate saga. Instead, it was about the after-purchase period concerning maintenance and repairs, where a lack of data sharing with independent mechanics has been said to ‘hurt’ everyday motorists. 

 

How did we get here?

Before we try to make sense of it all, let’s take a step back to a few years ago. In 2014, auto-makers agreed to a voluntary system where data sharing would be placed in the hands of manufacturers. Provisions were put in place that were designed to help independent mechanics access computer codes and calibration data among other information.

However, the voluntary nature of this program meant there were no formal obligations or requirements to comply with the intended aim of the program. More recently, in 2018, the Federal Government paved the way for a more structured approach to data sharing. Despite the matter being earmarked as part of ‘priority’ sector reform, it was largely overlooked amid more pressing issues until late last month when the Australian Government announced a mandatory data sharing law.

 

Why did it take so long?

For most of this discussion period, car manufacturers have continually expressed concerns about the idea of being compelled to comply with data sharing requirements. As such, you can imagine they were firmly opposed to any measure that would force them to provide your local independent mechanic with technical information about their vehicles.

Representatives regularly cited safety reasons for their reluctance to share data with independent mechanics. One of the key concerns was providing independent mechanics with access to complex information that may prompt them to undertake repairs beyond the scope of their training, or where they may otherwise be without the appropriate tools.

 

What impact might the new law have?

Independent mechanics have pointed to the increased sophistication in today’s cars to reinforce the need to access vehicle data. Jobs that were once a simple and easy fix in years gone by, have become increasingly complex if you believe the words of many independent mechanics.

In the eyes of the ACCC, this means motorists have been getting a raw deal on their servicing and repair costs. They estimate that drivers have been paying as much as $1 billion per year more than necessary on account of independent mechanics not having access to data that would make their jobs easier.

Meanwhile, in backing the call for greater data sharing, the Australian Automotive Aftermarkets Association (AAAA) noted that the US and European markets have established programs in place to facilitate data sharing. In the US alone, these measures are estimated to save motorists US$26 billion per year. It appears the government has the notion of consumer savings in its sights, which could help drivers save a pretty penny. However, will it prove wise to dismiss manufacturers concerns?