Up to 2,000 people die in Europe every year due to vehicles that are unfit for the road, but this number could be significantly reduced under new rules to be voted on by EP next week.The legislative package includes minimum standards for checking vehicle maintenance, a risk-based system for roadside inspections on commercial vehicles as well as rules on the registration of vehicles. On 1 July MEPs will debate the amendments approved by the transport committee and vote on them the following day.
The transport committee rejected on 30 May a Commission proposal to test cars more than six years old every year and instead spoke out in favour of maintaining the current test frequency of every two years for these cars. Committee members also want to introduce mandatory checks for family caravans every two years.
The package includes minimum standards for periodic roadworthiness tests. "It establishes a regime of periodic roadworthiness tests of vehicles on the basis of minimum standards to ensure a high level of road safety and environmental protection," said Werner Kuhn, a German member of the EPP group who is responsible for steering the proposal for periodic testing through EP.
The committee also approved on 30 May a risk rating system for conducting roadside inspections on commercial vehicles. Firms whose vehicles are shown to be in a bad state during inspections would be flagged up and be targeted for roadside checks.
These measures should make European roads much safer. "According to the European Commission the number of fatalities caused by technical defects should be reduced by as close as possible to 1,100 yearly," said Olga Sehnalova, a Czech member of the S&D group who is responsible in the EP for the proposal regarding roadside inspections.
There will also be new rules for cancelling registrations or suspending registration certificates for vehicles that pose a risk to road safety. Vilja Savisaar-Toomast, who is guiding the proposal for registration documents through Parliament, pleaded in favour of more harmonisation. The Estonian member of the ALDE group said: "We must have clear and consistent rules across Europe, especially when these vehicles get a new owner or are transferred to another member state."
The legislative package will need to be approved by Parliament as well as by the Council before it can enter into force.