VdTÜV reports: European Parliament and Council of the European Union agree on European traffic safety package

Just before the regular end of the presidency, the Lithuanian President of the Council of the European Union advised the European Parliament (EP) that the Committee of Permanent Representatives from the EU member countries had finally approved the compromise between the Council of the European Union and the EP on the traffic safety package. The recommendation of the European Commission (EC) for a traffic safety package in the summer of 2012 consisted of an ordinance for periodic technical inspection (PTI) of motor vehicles, an ordinance for inspection of commercial vehicles presently in operation on the highway and a directive regarding vehicle registration documents.
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Jörn Buchheim - Fotolia.com

The Council of the European Union and the EP, who are involved in European legislation, agreed that the three parts of the EU traffic safety package are to be implemented into national law within 36 months after becoming effective as an EU directive.

EU directive for PTI in the meeting of the Council of the European Union

During their last meeting in 2013, the Council of the European Union discussed the negotiation results of the EU directive regarding regular technical inspection of motor vehicles and motor vehicle trailers. This resulted in an open dispute between the European Commissioner for Transport Siim Kallas and Peter Ramsauer, who presumably participated in the meeting for the last time as a representative for the new German Minister of Transport, Alexander Dobrindt. EC Vice-President Kallas was disappointed that important safety elements had been removed from the original EC recommendation for increased traffic. This applies primarily to the points: "No mandatory inspections for motorcycles" and "No increase in the inspection frequency particularly for older vehicles". The EC will therefore maintain general reservations regarding the compromise. Peter Ramsauer initially welcomed the agreement on the directive. He then contradicted Vice-President Kallas, because he could not see any relationship between technical defects on the one hand, and concrete causes for accidents on the other. The current forecast by the German government on accident development indicates that the number of traffic deaths has decreased from 4000 in 2011 to less than 3700 deaths in 2012. There is no evidence to prove a correlation between traffic deaths and technical defects on motor vehicles. This relationship was only assumed by the EC. In the future, an investigation will be required to provide proof of a relationship.

Details on compromise results

The recommended directive establishes minimum requirements leaving the European member states the freedom to enact more stringent regulations. In comparison to the applicable regulations, this draft directive introduces new requirements to ensure higher inspection standards. This applies particularly to testing equipment, the capabilities and training of the inspection personnel as well as supervision of the inspection points. The attachments containing technical details on the inspections were also updated. Moreover the inspections were extended to include high speed tractors with a top speed of more than 40 km/h.

It will be easier to detect manipulation of odometers, because the odometer readings from previous inspections will be available to the inspectors. Moreover, the new text provides for mutual recognition of inspection certificates when a vehicle is reregistered in another member state. Generally the administrative cooperation between member states is fortified and the possibility of establishing an electronic platform for vehicle information is being examined.

However, the text agreed upon by the Council of the European Union did not include the recommendations of the EC to extend the range of application to regular inspections for motor scooters, motorcycles and light trailers or to increase the frequency of inspections for older vehicles and light-weight commercial vehicles from at least two years to at least every year.

Conclusion of legislative process

Following acceptance of the compromise in the European Transport Commission, it will be necessary for the EP to vote on the entire package, presumably in its last session before the European elections in March/April 2014. The European traffic safety package will then become effective 20 days following its publication in the European Gazette.