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Roadworthiness package: minimum common standards agreed by European legislators

Monday, 31 March 2014

On the 11th of March 2014 the European Parliament endorsed the agreement reached with the Council of the EU on a series of minimum common standards for periodic vehicle inspections, vehicle registration documents and roadside inspections of commercial vehicles. With this final text, the European legislators aim at positively fostering the reduction of road fatalities.

The Roadworthiness Package is a threefold legislative proposal prepared by the Commission with the aim to update and harmonize across Europe the existing rules on Periodic Technical Inspection (PTI).  The package is proposing minimum standards that will have to be implemented at European level in order to enhance road safety and environmental protection.

FIGIEFA welcomes the Parliament’s decision concerning the following relevant points for the indipendent aftermarket:

  • The definition of ‘Roadworthiness test’ (Art. 3.9) will be focused on the functionality of the vehicle and not on a check of its parts and components, nor on the conformity of such parts to type-approval requirements. Therefore, according to the adopted definition, there will be no risk for the independent aftermarket to see parts of matching quality being cut off from the market;
  • Although the methods of the testing (Art. 6.2) include the possibility to have “a verification as to whether the respective parts and components of the vehicle correspond to the required safety and environmental characteristics that were in force at the time of approval or, if applicable, at the time of retrofitting”, this will have to be done “using techniques and equipment currently available without the use of tools to dismantle or remove any part of the vehicle”.

 The final decision concerning the legal form has been to opt for a Directive, which means that this legislation will set out the goals which the Member States have to achieve. However, it will be up to the individual countries to decide how. Member states could also decide to impose stricter standards than those laid down in the newly adopted text.

Being less stringent than a Regulation, this Directive will therefore inevitably open to some degree of interpretation by Member States.

The adopted Directive will enter into force twenty days after its publication in the Official Journal of the European Union. The laws, regulations and administrative measures necessary to comply with this Directive will have to be defined by the Member States and implemented by 48 months after the entry into force of the Directive.