European Comparisons

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Comparing the internal vehicle Testing requirements between different EU states is very interesting. Both in mainland Britain and in Holland vehicle Testing and repair can be carried out at the same premises and are largely undertaken by private vehicle repair businesses.

In other countries this is not the case and whilst in Spain, Germany and France (for example) private businesses carry out vehicle Testing, they are not allowed to repair vehicles within the same business operation. There are arguments on both sides as to which arrangement is better.

In Holland the authorities found that the motoring public preferred to be able to take their vehicles into a Testing garage and then have it repaired straight away rather then have to make multiple journeys – to the Test Station; if the car fails on to a repair garage; then back to the Test Station for another Test.

A Testing-only system would necessitate monitoring to ensure ethical business practice between Testing Stations and local repair garages. This would require greater resources by the authorities (VOSA – Vehicle and Operator Services Agency) because they would then have to monitor and control both Testing Stations and repair garages. This would also require additional legislation to provide VOSA with the power to monitor repair garages, which they do not currently have. The effect would be that the public would be inconvenienced and the system would be more complex and expensive to operate.

Training is a specific area where the British MOT Test falls behind our European neighbours with the Testing authorities (VOSA) offering no formal training as such, but merely providing just a two day course which, to quote their own policy is “…to calibrate skills”. In other countries there are more formal and stringent arrangements to train vehicle Testing staff. In Germany, for example, Testers require a year of training.

Britain is also well behind other countries in Europe when it comes to using automated equipment and modern electronic technology. A partially computerised system has already been installed into all Testing Stations in Britain, but in terms of fully utilising the most modern equipment coupled with modern computer technology this will fall well short of systems which have been in use for some time in many other EU States, even the Republic of Ireland.

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