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The European Affairs Commission of the French
Senate issued yesterday a negative opinion on the European Commission's
proposal for harmonized technical inspections for powered two-wheelers. In
question, the Commission's lack of evidence and the violation of the principle
of subsidiarity. This article is also available in French
The proposed Directive aims to introduce
mandatory periodical tests for motorcycles in every European country, while
introducing tougher and more frequent controls for passenger cars. The French
Foreign Affairs Commission of the Upper House was examining the document this
week in order to issue recommendations.
senators severely questioned the data put forward by the Commission to justify
its project, drawing on the conclusions of the MAIDS in-depth accident study,
which show than less than 0.5% of powered two-wheeler accidents can be linked
to technical defects - most of which are related to tire wear and damage, which
cannot be prevented by yearly inspections. The results of MAIDS are also
corroborated by the 2007 Norwegian study by Peter Christensen and Rune Elvik,
showing no effect on car accidents after the introduction of periodic tests for
cars in Norway, and the official data published by the French National Observatory
for Road Safety.
Inspections giant DEKRA also came under heavy
fire. The company's reports, strongly promoting increased inspections and cited
by the European Commission in support of the directive, are dismissed by the
Senate due to invalid data, and the obvious conflict of interest as DEKRA is
first in line to take a slice of the cake, with the market for yearly
motorcycle and scooter inspections estimated at 1.5 billion euros in France
"No link can be established between the
introduction of technical inspections for motorcycles and a reduction in the
number of accidents"
The Foreign Affairs Commission also criticized
the plan to increase the frequency of inspections, and therefore the cost for
users, in the context of the economic crisis that France is going through. The
social aspect pointed out by FEMA, acknowledging that families with low income
cannot afford to buy new vehicles more often, is fully recognized.
And while the senators agree with the European
Commission's environmental concerns, the directive should not unfairly target
citizens who cannot afford to buy a new car every six years. Also underlined is
the increased efficiency and durability of modern vehicles, which reduce the
need for sustained inspections that early in a vehicle's life.
The senators also note the absence of any real
benefit for citizens, with no actual provision in the directive for improving
the free movement of vehicles - something FEMA was keen to point out.
The conclusions of the report are unambiguous:
the Commission's proposal does not address any real need, is not backed by
conclusive evidence, is excessively restrictive, and as such does not respect
the principle of subsidiarity.
The report will now be forwarded to the French
Senate Economic Affairs Commission.
The report is available online here: