Austroads has released a report that sets out a rationale for modifying the national vehicle registration framework to enable better end-of-life management of vehicles.
More than 700,000 vehicles are ‘retired’ from the national vehicle fleet each year having reached the end of their economic or safe operating life. The volume is expected to increase at a rapidly escalating rate as the result of the continued growth in vehicle ownership, the decreasing average age of vehicles, and the escalating costs of maintaining and operating older vehicles.
However, few owners of end-of-life vehicles formally surrender their vehicle’s registration, leaving the status of hundreds of thousands of vehicles uncertain on the national vehicle register which simply shows that the registration has not been renewed.
The project developed a ‘conceptual set’ of vehicle registration requirements to enhance the integrity and accuracy of the national vehicle register, and mitigate the significant wider impacts, including:
- environmental damage—as there are no regulatory requirements to ensure the vehicle is appropriately managed to prevent the release of hazardous gases into the atmosphere or the transfer of toxic liquids and other materials to land fill or waterways; and
- vehicle crime—the National Motor Vehicle Theft Reduction Council estimates that ‘theft-for-scrap’ rackets account for more than half the $28.6m annual stolen vehicle costs (excluding the very large costs of policing and the justice systems).
The study proposes two alternatives which are both currently operating in other countries:
- Open Loop which permits a vehicle to drop out of regulatory oversight for periods when it is not registered for road use. This approach places an additional regulatory burden on registered operators who fail to pay their registration fee on time.
- Closed Loop which maintains regulatory visibility over a vehicle from manufacture to destruction by holding a person responsible for it. This approach places a more significant burden on any registered operator who does not maintain the vehicle’s registration for on-road use.
The project is a joint initiative of Austroads and the National Motor Vehicle Theft Reduction Council.
Report link: Better Management of End-of-Life Vehicles