05 April 2012
Minister Publishes New Road Traffic Bill to Transform Commercial Vehicle Roadworthiness Testing
The Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport, Mr. Leo Varadkar, T.D. has published new legislation today, Thursday 5th April, 2012, which will see the functions of local authorities in relation to the roadworthiness testing of commercial vehicles (light and heavy goods vehicles and buses) transferring to the Road Safety Authority (RSA).
The Bill also reforms the way Commercial Vehicle Roadworthiness (CRV) testing centres and authorised testers are licensed, as well as providing greater powers of enforcement through targeted roadside inspections and inspections of commercial operators’ premises.
The new Bill incorporates the key findings of an RSA commissioned study by PwC into the roadworthiness testing of commercial vehicles, following a number of high profile collisions involving commercial vehicles.
The main actions identified in that report, to raise the standards of roadworthiness on a permanent basis, included;
1. To completely overhaul the CVR testing system, using a three-strand approach, i.e.:
- To ensure that roadworthiness tests are conducted impartially and correctly at all times.
- To develop a programme of roadside inspections to ensure continuous compliance with roadworthiness standards.
- To introduce operator premises checks and intelligence led targeting, including the establishment of a ‘Risk Register’ of operators based on risk.
2. The second course of action related to the transfer of responsibility for the operation and supervision of the commercial vehicle testing system from local authorities to the RSA.
The new legislation, coupled with the reforms that have already been introduced, will mean that roadside enforcement activity, checks of operators’ fleet and maintenance records as well as the annual roadworthiness test will be linked in one integrated system for the first time. Resources will be targeted at operators of vehicles considered most likely to break the law while continuing to supervise those with a good track record in maintaining vehicle standards.
The reform of the CVR system will contribute to greater safety on the roads. In Ireland, approximately 1 in 5 fatal collisions involve commercial vehicles. A more stringent testing regime will ensure that the use of unsafe commercial vehicles will be minimised. In addition, it is very likely that congestion on public roads would be reduced as a result of less incidents of breakdown. Non-compliance with roadworthiness testing is considered to be significant factor in such breakdown statistics. It will also create a level playing pitch in the transport industry by ensuring that those who maintain their fleet are not put at a disadvantage by those who gain a competitive advantage from breaking the law.
The move to a centralised model for driver licensing provision will offer greater efficiencies in the overall delivery of the service, thus complying with the public service reform agenda, but will ultimately provide a better and more uniform service to all end users. Exchequer funding is not being sought for the commencement or on-going operation of the reform programme. Initial investment will be funded through additional RSA income generated by the last increase in the driver-testing fee. Once the system is fully operational, the total direct Exchequer saving should be in the region of €4.5 million per annum.
The Road Traffic Bill will also provide for revised administrative arrangements for the processing and management of driving licences to support the introduction of a plastic card driving licence in 2013.
The Bill is available to view on the oireachtas website.
For further information please contact;
RSA Communications Office 096-25008
It is almost 30 years since the commercial vehicle roadworthiness (CVR) testing system was introduced in Ireland. Heavy goods vehicle (HGV) testing was initiated in 1982 and light goods vehicle (LGV) testing commenced in 1993. HGVs include buses and ambulances. While there have been a number of developments in testing standards over the intervening period, the administration of the system has remained largely unchanged.
Member States of the European Union are required to have arrangements in place for the compulsory periodic roadworthiness testing of motor vehicles and trailers registered by them. The annual testing of commercial vehicles in Ireland is carried out by over 158 privately operated test centres which are currently appointed and supervised by Local Authorities.
Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGVs), including large trailers, Light Goods Vehicles (LGVs), buses and ambulances are subject to roadworthiness testing when they are 1 year old and every year thereafter.
In 2011, 513,642 commercial vehicles were subject to compulsory roadworthiness testing Heavy goods vehicles, large trailers, buses and ambulances account for 117,686 of the vehicles with the balance of 395,956 being light goods vehicles.
The Gardaí are responsible for enforcing the roadworthiness of commercial vehicles on the roadside. They are supported by the RSA in this function. RSA Vehicle Inspectors participated in in 597 roadside checkpoints in 2011. Roadworthiness checks were completed on 4,919 vehicles and these checks revealed that 2,312 vehicles or 47.8% had defects with 32% of these vehicles having defects serious enough to warrant immediate action, such as impoundment, repair on site or a new test.