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New South Wales Roads Minister wants all new Australian cars reversing sensors.


TONY EASTLEY: The New South Wales Roads Minister wants all new Australian cars to have audible reversing sensors. Eric Roozendaal will put forward the idea at a meeting at a Child Safety summit today.

Vehicle manufacturers have rejected the call, saying it would push up the cost of cars and make Australia internationally uncompetitive.

But the minister argues it’s not a huge price to pay for saving scores of lives.

Sabra Lane reports.

SABRA LANE: In New South Wales alone, 66 children were killed in accidents on private property between 1996 and 2001. Most of them were run over by their parents or relatives, who were reversing the family car.

reverse sensors

NSW Roads Minister Eric Roozendaal says it’s a needless loss of life.

ERIC ROOZENDAAL: It’s an ongoing issue. Every week or month we hear of a case of a toddler that’s been run over, often by the family vehicle.

My own experience with three small children is having reverse sensors really does improve safety, and I think now is the time to say to manufacturers in this country, why not put reverse sensors on all new vehicles – and there’s 340,000 new vehicles every year in NSW – let’s put them on all new vehicles from here on in.

SABRA LANE: How much would that push up the cost of new cars? Do you know?

ERIC ROOZENDAAL: Well, I know that you can get aftermarket reverse sensors fitted for around $200 to private vehicles. I would imagine if the manufacturers took it onboard to fit to all of their vehicles it’d be a really minor additional cost to the average new vehicle.

SABRA LANE: How many lives do you think you could save?

ERIC ROOZENDAAL: Well, we have a number of fatalities every year that involve cars reversing over people, or hitting people when they’re reversing. And in those cases most of them are children under three. So I think we could talk about saving a considerable number of lives.

SABRA LANE: Mr Roozendaal will put forward the idea today to a school road safety summit.

It will also be referred it the Federal Department of Transport and Regional Services for investigation, to see if the Australian Design Standard should be modified to include reverse sensors.


The Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries has rejected the idea.

The Chamber’s CEO is Peter Sturrock.

PETER STURROCK: So whether it’s $200, $500, or $1,000 to the vehicle costs, in terms of the component it’s the complexity of production and the uniqueness of that specification which makes it difficult.

SABRA LANE: He says governments should be spending more on roads, and that individuals should be more responsible for their own driving.

Mr Sturrock says compulsory reverse sensors would disadvantage the Australian Car Manufacturing Industry, making it internationally uncompetitive.

PETER STURROCK: It’s all about the complexity, because it’s simply not easy to go along and say well, let’s fit such and such a particular specification to a vehicle, just for Australia. It makes it very difficult, and overseas manufacturers are all about efficiency, they’re not about making it more complicated.

SABRA LANE: Eric Roozendaal dismisses that as nonsense.

ERIC ROOZENDAAL: Well, I find that pretty unconvincing. The average cost of even a small new car is somewhere in the vicinity of $15,000, an additional $50 or $100 to add pedestrian safety, a reversing sensor, strikes me as a very small increase, and I don’t find that convincing at all.

TONY EASTLEY: NSW Road Transport Minister Eric Roozendaal ending that report by Sabra Lane.

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