Bull-bars that fail to meet safety standards have been given a two-year grace period by the New South Wales Government.
This follows a blitz by police in the state’s north and north-west targeting drivers with non-compliant bull bars, particularly the 'five-post' variety (which have been illegal since 2003).
The issue is the risk to pedestrians caused by the illegal armour and the compromising of the vehicle's safety systems.
However, following an outcry by rural drivers, Roads Minster Duncan Gay has announced a grace period while a clearer set of guidelines covering items such as fishing-rod holders, aerial mounting points and driving-light brackets are developed, once a review by Standards Australia is complete.
The grace period exemption from vehicle registration regulations however only applies to bars 'within a reasonable tolerance of the requirements', the Minister said.
Until then, the Minister said police will be lenient with owners of bull-bar-equipped vehicles that are ‘close’ to meeting safety requirements.
"This exemption will provide vehicle owners who have inadvertently fitted a non-complying bull-bar to their vehicle, or are unsure about their bull-bar compliance, with time to have their bull-bar inspected by Roads and Maritime Services (RMS),” Mr Gay said, speaking with ABC Radio.
"This exemption is about ensuring vehicle owners who thought that they were doing the right thing aren't disadvantaged. However, bull-bars that grossly exceed the current Australian Standards that are called up by NSW Regulations will not be exempt."
Mr Gay recently directed the NSW Vehicle Standards Working Group to conduct a detailed examination of rules for bull-bars.
Police have expressed concern that some bull-bars reduce the effectiveness of airbag sensors, while posing an added risk to pedestrians.
Mr Gay said owners who have already been issued with an infringement or defect notice for a bull-bar and believe they should be exempt should arrange an inspection through the RMS.
The minister said clear guidelines for compliant bull-bars will soon be available.
Image at top of page via Bull Bars Australia