Brussels, 13 July 2012
Road Safety: The Roadworthiness Package – Tougher vehicle checks to save lives
What is in the new Roadworthiness Package?
There are three parts to the roadworthiness package: periodic roadworthiness tests; technical roadside inspections of commercial vehicles; and vehicle registration.
Each issue is dealt with in turn in the MEMO below.
Periodic Roadworthiness Tests - the main improvements
The current rules: Directive 2009/40/EC fixes minimum standards for the periodic roadworthiness tests of motor vehicles - these are the regular vehicle checks required by law. The Directive applies to passenger cars, buses and coaches and heavy goods vehicles and their trailers, but not to scooters and motorbikes.
Under the new proposals (see chart below for summary of details for private motorists):
1. The scope of vehicles to be tested shall be extended to the highest risk group of road users, the powered two or three wheelers (motorcycles and mopeds) and light trailers (under 3.5 tons). These two categories of vehicles are currently excluded from the obligation under EU law.
The proposal further defines the limits of the scope of the exemptions from testing Member States may grant to certain vehicles e.g. agricultural vehicles and certain vehicles that are not used in intercommunity traffic with a design speed of less than 40 km/h.
These exemptions include also vehicles of historic interest, which have now been more precisely defined.
2. As regards the frequency of testing two aspects have to be considered, age and yearly mileage. Therefore the test frequency of older cars shall be increased and vehicles with high mileage will be subject to annual testing as it is already the case for taxis and ambulances.
For some categories of vehicles, the current frequency of periodic inspections is deemed too low to ensure that they are free of defects. The proposal increases the minimum standards for frequency of PTI (periodic technical inspection) for three vehicles categories:
Cars first inspection after 4 years, then after 2 years and later annually
(moving to 4-2-1 instead of the current 4-2-2 minimum standard)
Cars and light commercial vehicles up to 3.5 tonnes which reach at the date of first inspection (after 4 years) a mileage of more than 160.000 km shall be inspected annually after the first test (4-1-1 instead of the existing 4-2-2)
Changers for private motorists / by country:
*) Periodicity 4-2-1 means first test after 4 years, next test after 2 years, afterward tests every year.
°) Scooters currently not tested.
Source: CITA, AUTOFORE.
3. The equipment to be used for testing shall fulfil certain minimum requirements allowing for efficient performing the test methods described.
The availability and characteristics of the testing equipment determine the quality of the roadworthiness tests. Currently, EU law does not contain provisions concerning test equipment.
Therefore the proposal includes a list of the minimum equipment required for the PTI and its technical specification.
A transitional period is defined to allow for a smooth replacement of existing testing equipment that does not meet the required standards.
4. Inspectors performing roadworthiness tests shall meet a certain level of knowledge and skills and be properly trained.
High standard of roadworthiness testing requires a high level of skills and competences of the testing personnel. The proposal introduces areas of knowledge an applicant for a inspectors post should have, a training system including initial training and periodic refresher trainings and the areas these trainings shall cover.
A transitional period is defined to allow for a smooth transition of existing testing personnel into the periodic training regime.
5. Detected deficiencies shall be assessed according to common rules related to their risk.
The judgement about the technical condition of a vehicle should be harmonised across the EU and for that to be possible, the failures detected should be assessed according to a common standard. To that end the Commission adopted in 2010 recommendations for the assessment of defects. The recommendations defined 3 categories of defects (minor, major and dangerous) according to their consequences for vehicle safety and assigned one or more of these categories to the possible defects as listed in the directive.
These rules on the assessment of defects and the definition of the categories will now be introduced into the regulation.
6. Quality assurance of roadworthiness test activities performed by authorised private bodies shall be performed by national supervision.
Establish the obligation for Member States to supervise the operation of inspection bodies and the quality of the inspections carried out by these bodies
To assure that the high quality of testing is kept over time Member States are required to set up a quality assurance system that covers the processes of authorisation, supervision and withdrawal, suspension or cancellation of the authorisation to perform roadworthiness tests.
7. Registering of mileage readings will provide official evidence to detect kilometre fraud
The proposal establishes clear rules on the legal quality of odometer (mileage) fraud. With the registration of the mileage readings at each vehicle test, the basis to detect manipulations of the mileage readings is provided. With the keeping of these data the basis for a more efficient checking of the mileage is given and the basis for further cross-border use of this information once the interconnection of the national registers is in place.
Technical Roadside Inspections of Commercial Vehicles - the main improvements
The current rules: Directive 2009/40/EC is complemented by Directive 2000/30/EC, which provides the requirement to control the technical state of commercial vehicles in between periodic inspections (with technical roadside inspections). These are additional on-the-spot roadside checks for commercial vehicles.
Under the new proposals:
1. The selection of vehicles should be based on the risk profile of the operators and target on high risk undertakings to reduce the burden on such operators that maintain their vehicles in a proper way. Risk profiling will be based on the results of previous roadworthiness tests and roadside inspections taking into account the number and severity of defects detected as well as a time-factor providing higher importance to recent performed checks.
2. Currently technical roadside inspections apply to commercial vehicles of more than 3.5 tonnes. The proposal extends this obligation to undergo RSI to light commercial vehicles (under 3.5 tonnes) and their trailers as such vehicles are being used more frequently in road transport These vehicles are not covered by certain requirements such as the requirement of training for professional drivers or the installation of speed limitation devices ending up in a relatively high number of road accidents involving such vehicles.
3. Number of technical roadside inspections per year and Member State will be linked to the number of registered commercial vehicles to provide for a more equal distribution of the roadside checks among the Member States.
4. Technical roadside inspections will be performed in a stepwise approach. First an initial check of the overall condition of the vehicle and its documentation, such as roadworthiness certificates or previous roadside inspection reports. A more detailed roadside inspection may be performed on the basis of the outcome of the initial inspection. More detailed inspections shall be carried out using a mobile inspection unit or a test centre in the close vicinity.
5. The securing of cargo should be included in the roadside checks. Inadequate cargo securing is considered as factor related to up to 25% of accidents involving trucks.
6. Harmonisation of standards for the assessment of deficiencies, level of knowledge and skills of inspectors performing roadside inspectors based on the requirements for periodic roadworthiness tests and regularly concerted inspection activities will contribute to avoid unfair treatment.
Vehicle Registration- the main improvements
The current rules: Directive 1999/37/EC on registration documents for vehicles sets out the requirements for the issuing of registration certificates, their mutual recognition and the harmonised minimum content of vehicle registration certificates.
Under the new proposals:
1. Data on registered vehicles shall be kept in national electronic registers
2. Technical data arriving from vehicle approval, but not necessarily printed on registration documents, should be made available to the inspector for the purpose of the roadworthiness test.
3. An effective enforcement of the roadworthiness should be provided via the vehicle registration regime.
The key facts and figures
On technical checks for older vehicles
There is a clear correlation between severity of accidents and vehicle age. Empiric evidence shows that between year five and year six, the number of serious accidents (with fatalities) related to technical failure increases substantially.
The challenge is to provide for adequate technical control for these older vehicles.
The challenge is to provide for adequate technical control of vehicles older than 6 years.
On vehicle Checks for motor bikes and scooters
Motorcycle riders are the group of road users with the highest safety risk, which moreover defies the overall diminishing trend in the number of fatalities with still more than 4,500 killed persons1 per year. 8% of accidents involving motorcycles are caused or linked to technical defects.
Moped drivers are overrepresented in the number of fatalities, with more than 1,400 drivers killed2. 500 of these victims are young people in the age of 14 to 21 years. More than 25,000 moped riders have been seriously injured where nearly 9,000 of these victims are young people in the age of 14 to 21 years.
Access to data
In the course of roadworthiness tests and roadside inspections, an important amount of data on the vehicle and its performance is collected. This data could potentially be used by the different authorities to ensure the follow up of the detection of defects, to organise targeted checks, but also to enhance their policy making. Similarly, roadworthiness testing and roadside inspections would be more effective if they had access to complete information on the history of the vehicle and its technical characteristics. This exchange of information is also crucial in relation to combat mileage (odometer) fraud especially related to the intra EU second hand market.
What happens next?
The main objective of the proposed measures is to enhance road safety and to contribute to the political target of reduction of yearly road fatalities by 50% until 20203.
More than 1,200 lives could be saved and more than 36,000 accidents could be avoided.4
The monetized benefit to society is estimated by more than € 5,600 million.
More specifically, the measures under the Roadworthiness Package have three immediate objectives:
1. To enhance protection of vulnerable road users and young people in particular,
2. To provide for a single European area for technical roadworthiness control based on harmonized standards for aspects of control, equipment, qualification of inspectors and assessment of defects and on co-operation among Member States,
3. To lessen administrative burden for those road transport undertakings that comply with the technical road safety requirements.
The proposals must be approved by both the European Parliament and Member States before becoming law.
In a longer perspective, a second phase would consist of putting into place a harmonised intra-community data exchange system linking the existing databases and allowing EU-wide access of these data for control purposes, for instance to verify at any time across the borders the correctness of odometer data.
Such an EU-wide access of data could then potentially also provide for a mutual recognition of roadworthiness certificates once the necessary harmonisation of roadworthiness controls is reached at European level.
For more information please see: IP/12/780
Policy Orientations on Road Safety 2011-2020 (COM (2010) 389 final
Impact assessment on measures enhancing roadworthiness tests (SWD(2012) 206)