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ROAD SAFETY : MEPS CALL FOR TECHNICAL CHECK-UPS OF MOTORBIKES.

The situation for motorbikes has turned upside down. MEPs have finally decided that motorbikes should be subject to a compulsory technical check-up in the EU. This is a requirement that currently only exists in 17 EU member states. The Committee on Transport (TRAN) had decided to withdraw two-wheeled vehicles from the legislative proposal designed to review the rules relating to technical check-up of vehicles but the EP plenary came back on this decision during a vote, on 2 July, and came out in favour of an amendment filed by the Socialists and the Greens. With these specifications: the technical check-ups will be compulsory as from 1 January 2016 for engine sizes above 50 cm3 and as from 1 January 2018, if a report that the Commission will have to present deems it useful, for small engine sizes.

Transport Commissioner Siim Kallas immediately expressed his satisfaction about changing this situation, repeating statistics that have been questioned by the Federation of European Motorcyclists' Associations (FEMA): 8% of motorbike accidents are said to be linked to technical shortcomings. For FEMA, which had done intense lobbying to convince MEPs that they should spare motorbikes, technical shortcomings are in reality the cause of less than 1% of accidents.

It now remains to be seen what the Council of Ministers will do with this vote as it has come out in favour of excluding motorbikes from the proposal. Discussions will start soon as the plenary had decided not to adopt the legislative resolution meant to close the vote - only the amendments to the report have therefore been adopted - to try to secure a first-reading agreement with the Council. This will not be the only point of discussion with it as MEPs have also subscribed to the Commission's idea to make technical check-ups compulsory for trailers of less than 3.5 tonnes, up til now exempt from such obligations.

But Kallas does not just have reason to be pleased. Because MEPs are not following him when he asks for the frequency of technical check-ups of private cars to be increased. The 4-2-2 system would therefore stay as it is: the first check-up four years after registration then every two years (the Commission is proposing a 4-2-1 system, ie a check-up every year after the sixth year). The same goes for lorries: the system would stay as it is (4-2-2). A more frequent check-up system for older cars - 160,000 kms on the date of the first check-up (so after four years) - has also been rejected by MEPs to, they say, avoid favouring fraud on the tachograph.

ROAD INSPECTION

This proposal is part of a technical check-up package, which also aims at tightening up the rules for the road inspection of passenger vehicles, ie check-ups done on roads, between compulsory check-ups, to check the state of the vehicles. Here, too, discussions will be needed with the Council - and here, too, the vote on the legislative resolution has been put back to try to reach an agreement in first reading - because MEPs have accepted to extend road check-ups to passenger vehicles of less than 3.5 tonnes, ie lorries and vans (N1 vehicles). The Council is divided on the issue even if the majority of countries want to stay with the current situation, which exempts them from this kind of inspection.

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Publication:European Report
Date:Jul 3, 2013
Words:552
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