There are a number of reasons why an owner or operator of a vehicle may choose to modify it with non-standard features. Whether it is raising the height of a vehicle for recreational purposes, adjusting it to improve access for a disabled passenger, modifying the engine for greater capacity or lowering a vehicle for aesthetic purposes, it is important to ensure that the finished product meets the standards of roadworthiness before it is driven on NSW roads.
Police are sure to notice a car that is taller, lower, louder or faster than it should be, and if that modification isn’t officially certified, then the owner will receive a defect notice and may be prohibited from driving the vehicle until the defect has been remedied.
Defect notices can mean one of two things:
- The modification needs to be returned to standard features, or
- it needs to be redone and signed off on by a licenced certifier.
Either is sure to be expensive.
The Vehicle Safety Compliance Certification Scheme (VSCCS) authorises “licensed certifiers” to inspect modified vehicles and issue compliance certificates if they are satisfied that they comply with the relevant vehicle standards under the Road Transport (Vehicle Registration) Regulation 2007. It is recommended that if you are considering modifying your vehicle you should involve a licenced certifier from the beginning; this will ensure that your vehicle is always compliant with the regulations and so will avoid the cost and disappointment of reversing your work.
Further, even if a modified vehicle is registered, probationary licence holders may not be able to drive it. If a modification has been made to the engine of a vehicle, enquiries should be made with the Roads and Maritime Services as to whether that modification renders the vehicle “prohibited” for probationary drivers. Driving a prohibited vehicle while on a P1 or P2 licence carries 7 demerit points and a fine of $541.
Probationary drivers wishing to drive vehicles that are prohibited need to make an application to the Roads and Maritime Services for exemption from that rule.
WHERE TO NEXT?
In NSW, traffic offences are treated seriously. Therefore, it is important to get competent legal advice as early as possible, whether you have received a penalty notice, had your licence suspended or been charged with a serious offence. Our lawyers are highly experienced and understand the difficulties you face without a licence. We can guide you through the process while dealing with the various authorities related to your matter.