MORE than five people die on Europe’s roads every day in road crashes inked to technical failure, which is why the European Commission has adopted new rules to toughen up the vehicle testing regime and widen its scope.
Technical defects are responsible for 6% of all car accidents, translating into 2,000 fatalities and many more injuries yearly and 8 % of all motorcycle accidents are linked to technical defects.
The main problem, says the Commission is that there are too many vehicles with technical defects on the road. Recent studies from theUKandGermanyindicate that up to 10% of cars at any point in time have a defect that would cause them to fail the tests.
Moreover, many technical defects with serious implications for safety (such asABSand Electronic Stability Control) are not even checked under current rules.
Existing European Union rules setting minimum standards for vehicle checks date back to 1977, with only minor updates, but, says the Commission, cars, driver behaviour and technology have developed a lot since then and vehicle checks are fundamental to road safety.
The new proposals aim to save more than 1,200 lives a year and to avoid more than 36,000 accidents linked to technical failure.
Key elements of the new proposals include:
- Compulsory European Union-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 five and six years, the number of serious accidents related to technical failure increases dramatically.
- Increasing the frequency of tests for cars and vans with exceptionally high mileage. This would 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 European Union-wide minimum standards for vehicle checks, with member states free to go further if appropriate.