Vice President Siim Kallas responsible for transport said, "If you're driving a car which is not fit to be on the road, you're a danger to yourself and to everyone else in your car – your family, your friends, your business colleagues. What's more, you’re a danger to all the other road users around you. It's not complicated; we don't want these potentially lethal cars on our roads."
The impact on the UK industry will be limited due to the high standards in relation to vehicle inspections already in force.
However, the minimum EU rules will mean that UK motorists would be reassured that vehicles from elsewhere in the EU driving on UK roads have undergone stringent and regular roadworthiness tests. Also, UK motorists travelling on EU roads would be at less risk from road accidents caused by unroadworthy cars.
The new proposals aim to save more than 1,200 lives a year and avoid more than 36,000 accidents linked to technical failure.
The proposals will now be examined by members of the European Parliaments and EU ministers.
Key elements of the new proposals include
- Compulsory EU wide testing for scooters and motorbikes. Motorbike and scooter riders, particularly young riders, are the highest risk group of road users.
- Increasing the frequency of periodic roadworthiness tests for old vehicles. Between 5 and 6 years, the number of serious accidents related to technical failure increases dramatically (see graph in MEMO/12/555).
- Increasing the frequency of tests for cars and vans with exceptionally high mileage. This will bring their tests in line with other high mileage vehicles such as taxis, ambulances etc.
- Improving the quality of vehicle tests by setting common minimum standards for deficiencies, equipment and inspectors;
- Making electronic safety components subject to mandatory testing.
- Clamping down on mileage fraud, with registered mileage readings.
In all cases, the proposals set common EU wide minimum standards for vehicle checks, with Member States free to go further if appropriate.
Impact of proposals on the UK
- Minimal cost implications for the UK.
- There will be no changes for private UK motorists in the frequency and testing of cars, motorbikes and scooters, as the UK already operates a higher frequency of testing than that outlined in the proposal. The current UK test period for cars and light commercial vehicles up to 3.5 tonnes is 3-1-1 (ie first test after 3 years, next test after 1 and annually thereafter. Proposed EU minimum is 4-2-1.
- Historic vehicle owners will benefit from the proposed revised definition, 30 years of age. From November 2012, the UK intends to only exempt vehicles manufactured before 1 January 1960, ie 52 years old.
- Farm vehicles up to a designed speed of 40 km/h are out of scope of the proposed measures, however high speed tractors will be included.
- Database requirements will not affect the UK as all test centres are already connected to the central database operated by the Vehicle and Operator Service Agency (VOSA) and vehicle registrations are already kept in a central database operated by the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA). A Europe-wide interconnection of national databases is subject to phase two after an impact assessment.
- Reassurance for UK motorists that vehicles from elsewhere in the EU driving on UK roads have undergone stringent and regular roadworthiness tests. Also, motorists travelling on EU roads would be at less risk from road accidents caused by unroadworthy cars.