Quad safety is back in the news in Australia, where the Government has ruled that rollover protection will be mandatory within 24 months.
On the eve of Fieldays, Worksafe NZ recommended – contrary to the advice of most manufacturers -- that all quads be fitted with crush protection devices (CPDs).
Then ACC said it will subsidise, by $180, farmers’ purchases of two brands of CPDs.
But Motor Industry Association (MIA) chief executive David Crawford says international research shows no credible evidence that CPDs prevent injuries. He claims government agencies’ support for fitting untested CPDs to quads amounts to an experiment with farmers’ lives.
“On the contrary, research from Australia reveals that a serious accident resulting in hospitalisation is more likely to occur if a CPD is fitted to a quad,” he told Rural News.
Crawford says government officials must take time to analyse the data before rushing to draft ill-informed policies.
In a fact sheet, WorkSafe/ACC recommends farmers buy a CPD that is professionally designed and manufactured. It also says these must be installed according to the CPD manufacturer’s instructions.
But these instructions contradict those of quad manufacturers, who recommend against fitting such devices.
Crawford says this is a concern in that MIA “does not advise the retro-fitting of CPDs on quads, which are not designed for them by the manufacturers”.
“This is not safe practice. The MIA is a safety first organisation and for some time we’ve been asking the government to regulate and promote simple evidence-based safety measures.”
Crawford says the MIA wants the wearing of safety helmets to be made mandatory, children to be banned from riding adult size quads and passengers to be banned on single seat quads.
“We’d also like to see improvements and more opportunities in rider training. Research in the US shows a big drop in quad fatalities since 1999 linked to increased use of helmets and restrictions on children riding,” Crawford said.
Quad fatalities halved between 1999 and 2011, and Crawford says this is strongly linked to riders’ behaviour changes.
“There were no engineering changes such as CPDs during this time.
In NZ we’d like to see sensible, proven safety solutions and would welcome the opportunity for further discussions with the government.”
The WorkSafe/ACC fact sheet says: “In future, WorkSafe is likely to make CPDs a requirement and will take enforcement action if necessary”.