The FIA presented the users’ perspective to MEPs on a new proposal for EU-wide minimum standards for technical checks on cars, powered two-wheelers, and trailers and caravans, at a EP Transport committee hearing today (22 January 2013).
Ms Laurianne Krid, Director of Policy for the FIA Region I office, said that while the FIA is fully supportive of efforts to improve road safety, research by member Clubs indicates that this proposal is not based on sound evidence, and will not result in the road safety benefits foreseen by the European Commission. As an introduction, she noted that in Switzerland the government is considering changing the periodicity of inspections to 7-2-2 from 4-3-2-2 without expecting any significant impact on either safety or the environment. Unlike the situation in most EU countries where testing is carried out by commercial bodies such as the German Motor Vehicle Inspection Association (DEKRA), testing is carried out by public bodies in Switzerland.
Ms Krid said there was a need to differentiate between the primary cause of the accident and aggravating factors, in which case it has been demonstrated that technical defaults are the primary cause of less than 1% of accidents. In Germany, official road accident figures from 2010 showed that only around 0.42% of the accidents were linked to technical failures (two-thirds of these were caused by tyre failure which may not be resolved by increased PTI). "There is no sound evidence that increasing the frequency of checks will help", said Ms Krid.
Similarly, for powered-two wheelers and trailers, Ms Krid said that a lack of sound evidence to prove that technical defects are at the origin of accidents was the reason the FIA could not support the Commission’s proposals for these vehicle categories. She noted that these categories cover a much lower mileage in general and said that this should be taken into account.
The FIA is calling for:
The safety impact of PTI to be carefully weighed against other measures such as making safety technologies mandatory;
More specific data to be collected on all vehicle categories, and specifically on newly introduced categories;
The minimum frequency to be 4-2-2- with member states free to go beyond this requirement;
The original form of a directive to be kept, allowing Member States flexibility to adapt to national situations.
On mileage fraud, Ms Krid welcomed the Commission’s acknowledgement of the mileage fraud problem as a first step, but did not believe it would be sufficient to tackle the issue successfully. Here, the FIA supports technical measures to make tampering more difficult.
Several MEPs raised concerns about increasing costs for vehicle owners, but also for authorities which would be obliged to invest in control equipment and better training for inspectors.
Parliament's rapporteurs on the threefold "roadworthiness package", Mr Kuhn (EPP, DE), Mrs Sehnalova (S&D, CZ) and Mrs Savisaar (ALDE, ET) will prepare draft reports for a vote in the Transport and Tourism Committee scheduled for the end of May.