Vehicle Inspections | what does this involve and why are we asking for them?

Public news

Vehicle Inspections were at the heart of discussions at the inaugural Industry Advisory Council in late September. Vehicle Inspections are an issue that the MTA have been fighting for, for decades. But, what is this all about? Why is the MTA fighting to get them? And how do they propose it should be done?

What do we mean by vehicle inspections and why are they important?

Essentially, there are two areas in Vehicle Inspections that the MTA are fighting for; Light Vehicle Inspections at change of ownership and national consistency for Heavy Vehicle Inspections.

Light Vehicle Inspections

Light vehicle inspections refer to change of ownership inspections for vehicles that are driven by everyday Australian’s. Currently the fleet of cars on South Australian roads contain vehicles that are not necessarily safe to be on the roads, more so than any other state or territory. We have the oldest vehicle fleet in mainland Australia and our road toll is significantly above the national average. Change of ownership inspections would mean that vehicles require a vehicle safety inspection before sale which covers components such as tyres, brakes and seatbelts and that product recall components have been rectified. The goal is to make South Australian roads safer for everyone.

Heavy Vehicle Inspections

Heavy Vehicle Inspections ensure that issues with larger vehicles are identified potentially earlier than they might otherwise be and are rectified before getting back on the road. It is important that these vehicles are road worthy and therefore less likely to cause a serious or even fatal accident on Australian roads.

What has happened so far?

Light Vehicle Inspections

The MTA has gathered learnings and submitted a position statement to the government outlining how light vehicle inspections at change of ownership could work in South Australia. The position paper proposes that inspections be set by a guided market rate, which based on the Victorian model has cost between $100-$200, with roadworthy certificates issued by licensed or authorised inspectors. With 7 out of 10 vehicles sold privately in South Australia, this would also protect consumers from purchasing vehicles that are not safe to drive on our roads.

Heavy Vehicle Inspections

Following the death of a 41-year-old truck driver on the South Eastern Freeway in 2014, the Coroner recommended that South Australia implement annual heavy vehicle inspections as part of annual registrations. Following the successful implementation of HVIS stage one change of ownership inspections, the incoming Liberal Government in 2018 committed to a continuation to HVIS stage two.

On 4 June 2020, the former Minister for Transport and Infrastructure announced the State Government would delay stage two periodic inspections for the promised HVIS, following an unsuccessful and arguably flawed tender process.

At this time it was also announced that stage one change of ownership inspections would be taken away from industry inspectors such as Cavpower and Scania, and brought in house to existing Department for Infrastructure and Transport (DIT) (formerly known as DPTI) locations such as Regency Park.

What are the next steps?

Light Vehicle Inspections

The MTA continue to advocate for Light Vehicle Inspections at change of ownership. The proposal is currently with the government and the MTA are using any opportunity to further this proposal.

Heavy Vehicle Inspections

After healthy discussion at the IAC meeting, it was agreed that a subcommittee of IAC members and the MTA be established to clarify MTA advocacy efforts for periodic Heavy Vehicle Inspections. While some members only wish to see heavy vehicle inspections at change of ownership, it was broadly agreed that national reform will likely see periodic inspections become mandatory. As such, members agreed it would be better to be part of discussions at a national level rather than deliberately obstructive.

Whether in a work capacity, a driver or a member of the public we all interact with our roads. Safety of South Australian’s is paramount for this shared space.

An MTA Member viewpoint

MTA Member Lyn James was a Ministry of Transport (MOT) examiner in the UK before starting his business Taff’s Auto Repairs in South Australia.

“Absolutely without a doubt, Vehicle Inspections are a must.” Said Lyn. “The problem we have got in South Australia is there are lots of unroadworthy cars on the road. This is because there is no regularity.”

“Only the police can, when they pull a car over, defect a car. Or if the government conduct random inspections.”

“Vehicles need an annual inspection,” continued Lyn. “In the UK if a car doesn’t pass a MOT it is declined to be roadworthy until all repairs have been done.

“A vehicle can’t fully be checked unless they are on a hoist.”

Lyn has taken the initiative to provide a service where he can provide a roadworthy check on vehicles that come through his workshop, if the customer wishes to take it up, and they usually do he advised.

“People hear of my inspections and often bring me their car that they have just bought. On several occasions the car they have just bought has had so many issues that the vehicle has had to go straight to the scrap heap. These are vehicles they have spent thousands of dollars on”

“Channel 7 did a story a couple of years ago, “Adelaide ticking time bombs” based on what I found wrong with a customer’s car they had just bought that was a wreck. They smashed it up to see what effects the defects would have on the car in the event of an accident.”

If you have any questions about the MTA’s advocacy efforts into Vehicle Inspections or have a position to offer, please email or call 8291 2000.

For Membership enquiries contact 8291 2000 or