Friday, 5 October 2012

French Senate shoots down EU mandatory inspections

The Federation of European Motorcyclists' Associations

  Oct 5, 2012

French Senate shoots down EU mandatory inspections
                                         Photo Sénat ©Sénat

 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.

 The 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 alone.

"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:

(Source: FEMA)

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