What’s the fuss over the new Australian Design Rules 85 regulations?

I’m sure most are aware of the Australian Design Rules relating to motor vehicles and understand they’ve certainly made the cars of today much safer than they were in the past, but a recent Australian Design Rule – ADR 85, has meant that some manufacturers have ceased bringing to Australia some very popular models. More on that later.

Firstly, it’s worth understanding what the Australian Design Rules actually are:

The Australian Design Rules (ADRs) are national standards for vehicle safety, anti-theft and emissions. The ADRs are generally performance based and cover issues such as occupant protection, structures, lighting, noise, engine exhaust emissions, braking and a range of miscellaneous items.

The First Edition ADRs were distributed for discussion purposes. However, they were not adopted as a legally binding set of standards under either national or state/territory law.

The Second Edition ADRs first came into effect on 1 January 1969. These ADRs were selectively applied under state/territory law. They were subsequently made part of the national standards by Determination No 2 of 1989 published by the Commonwealth Government Gazette (Special Gazette series) No S 291 dated 1 September 1989.

The current standards, the Third Edition ADRs, are administered by the Australian Government under the Motor Vehicle Standards Act 1989. The Act requires all road vehicles, whether they are newly manufactured in Australia or are imported as new or second-hand vehicles, to comply with the relevant ADRs at the time of manufacture and supply to the Australian market. When a road vehicle is first used on Australian roads the relevant state or territory government’s legislation generally requires that it continue to comply with the relevant ADRs as at the time of manufacture.

So why all the attention around the “Australian Design Rule 85/00 – Pole Side Impact Performance” more commonly known as ADR 85, which was designed to reduce serious injuries and fatalities from side impact crashes with the likes of poles, trees, and other narrow road objects?

ADR 85 was initiated in 2017 and applied to then newly introduced passenger vehicles and SUVs, with light commercial vehicles like utes and vans below 3.5 tonnes being affected in 2018. However existing passenger vehicles that first entered production prior to November 1st 2017 weren’t required to comply with the new regulations until November 1st 2021, and light commercial vehicles put into production prior to July 1st 2018 having until November 1st 2022 to comply.

Consequently, due to the extra manufacturing costs involved in getting some cars to comply to ADR 85 for just the Australian market, we are now seeing the demise in this country of some of our most popular cars like the Nissan GT-R, Mitsubishi Mirage and Lexus IS, RC and CT.

If you’d like to find out more about ADR 85 and what particular cars are affected, click on the following link to Alex Misovannis article in ‘Drive’:

‘ADR 85: Every car effected by Australia’s strict new side impact safety rules – Drive’

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