As part of the information gathered to inform decisions, the Ministry of Transport and the NZ Transport Agency commissioned a telephone survey and focus groups to explore people’s attitudes to warrant of fitness inspections, vehicle maintenance and safety, and annual vehicle licensing. The telephone survey was designed to gain a broad but representative understanding of attitudes, while the focus groups aimed to gain insight into the thinking behind those attitudes.

Telephone survey

The telephone survey involved 1000 people selected on a random basis.  Results from this type of survey have a standard margin of error of approximately plus or minus 3%. However, given the increase in the number of households without landlines and that interviews such as these are skewed towards older people, the real margin of error is likely to be slightly higher.

Focus groups

The focus group sessions involved one-hour, open-ended discussions with 12 groups of five people. The groups were; rural youth, urban youth, rural Maori, urban Samoan, farming community, young urban x2, thirties urban, mid-age urban x2, elderly urban working/retired, elderly small town working/retired.

Key results of the telephone survey

Getting a warrant of fitness inspection on time

83% of respondents reported they get their warrant of fitness on time, while 8% said they mostly get it on time while 3% said they didn’t, and 2% said they sometimes got their warrant of fitness on time. The main reason respondents reported not getting their warrant of fitness on time is because they ‘forgot’.

Preferred frequency for warrant of fitness inspections

For vehicles up to six years old, 63% of respondents reported their preferred frequency of warrant of fitness inspections was 12 months, while 21% said six months, and 11% of respondents said two years.

For vehicles from six to 12 years old, 60% of respondents said they thought warrant of fitness inspections should be carried out every six months, while 31% thought it should be every 12 months.

For vehicles over 12 years, 72% of respondents thought warrant of fitness inspections should be done every six months while 14% said every 12 months, and 10% said every three months.

Note – these findings were different to those of the more in-depth focus group results, which found that the views tipped in favour of a minimum of 12 months for vehicle inspections (and longer for new vehicles).

Maintaining standards between warrants

Almost three quarters of respondents (72%) said they know they are required to keep vehicle roadworthy between warrant of fitness inspections, while 13% did not know and 13% said they weren’t sure.

Most people (60%), thought keeping a car roadworthy meant checking the main safety items, 16% think it is getting a warrant of fitness and 15% of respondents mentioned specific items required to have a roadworthy car.

A large proportion of people (44%) said they would be more likely to check and maintain their vehicle if there was a longer period between warrant of fitness inspections, 13% said they probably would, and 28% said they wouldn’t.

Key results from the focus groups

Getting a warrant of fitness inspection on time

Most people in most of the focus groups said that they had on occasions not got their warrants on time, but not by much. The urban and older groups said they tended to get theirs on time and not knowingly drive without one, while the younger, rural and urban Samoan groups tended the other way.

Preferred frequency for warrant of fitness inspections

People generally favoured a 12 month frequency for warrant of fitness inspections (and longer for new cars), although most thought vehicles over 10 years old should be inspected every six months.

What should be included in a warrant of fitness inspection

Focus group respondents said the most important items that should be included in a warrant of fitness inspection are brakes followed by tyres, lights, suspension, shocks and seat belts.

Maintaining standards between warrants

Most people knew they’re required to maintain their vehicle to warrant of fitness standard but most didn’t know exactly what that was. Most reported they did the basics such as check the oil and water, watch out for warning lights and listen out for noises that could indicate a problem.

Download the full report

Attitudes to private vehicle warrants of fitness, annual licensing, and related issues research report (PDF, 255kb)