The systematic investigation of road accidents by multi-disciplinary teams appears to be the most suitable approach to estimating the proportion of accidents that may be attributable to ‘mechanical defects’. These reports invariably conclude that mechanical defects have an insignificant effect on road accident rates.At current prices an annual vehicle inspection program would cost about $86 million per annum more than the current change of ownership inspection and such a program might lower accident costs by between $9 million and $27 million per annum. At best costs would outweigh benefits 3:1. Periodic inspection thus would not be cost-effective.The RACV suggests that there are alternative safety programs which are cost-effective, and therefore, the money that would need to be spent on an inspection program may be more effectively spent on other road safety initiatives.The RACV believes that continued publicity and increased police surveillance of vehicle conditions, (in particular, of tyre condition) registration and driver licensing on a random selection basis would improve vehicle condition and driver behaviour. Such a procedure would be more cost-effective not only because of lower operational cost, but also because of a wider spread of potential road safety benefits.