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Transport Committee of the European Parliament to harmonize Road Worthiness Testing: for whose advantage?

Yesterday the Members of the Transport Committee of the European Parliament (TRAN) had their first discussion on Rapporteur Werner Kuhn’s report on the Commission’s proposal to harmonize Road Worthiness Testing (RWT) throughout Europe.
Despite strong opposition from the Federation of European Motorcyclists’ Associations (FEMA, which represents riders of 40 million powered two-wheelers), TRAN Rapporteurs refused to meet with its representatives, and it is now on the verge of putting forward its proposal 2012/0184(COD) that would introduce a new system for the whole EU that will bring to more frequent and more strict technial controls than the ones currently adopted by each country.

The new RWT has already been rejected by The Council of Ministers of Transport last December due to the lack of objective justification – in addition to the economic and regulatory burdens involved – but now, without bothering to ask the opinion of those who will eventually have to pay the bill for this new regulation, the TRAN is at it again: they refused to consult the representatives of the PTW community during a supposed ‘public’ hearing in January which only heard the views of those with a direct interest in the expansion of RWT: representatives of cars and motorcycles manufacturers (ACEA and ACEM), of the overhaul serviices industry (CITA and EGEA) and of the road transport companies (IRU).

The FIA (Federation Internationale de l’Automobile) was the only motorists organization allowed to speak at the hearing, and obviously they did not fail to voice their concerns.
However, that was obviously enough for TRAN rapporteur MEP Kuhn of Germany and his staff to finalized their report.
No other road users or truly independent road safety specialist were welcomed to voice their expertise and concern.
Despite several requests, MEP Kuhn hasn’t replied to the FEMA, who has consistently tried to address the other side of the question, namely the impact this new system would have on the citizens of the EU.
The latest revised RWT is based largely on data provided by the CTSE, a body presented as a “civil society organization” but actually ‘under the influence’ of certain companies involved in this business such as the TÜV and Dekra, which presented a slew of numbers showing that accidents on the roads are to be put in direct correlation with the number of technical controls performed on a vehicle.
On the other hand, the FEMA quotes independent studies showing that there is basically no relationship between the two as mechanical failures are almost never responsible for or direct cause of motorcycle accidents.
The FEMA also highlights that it is clearly wrong to equate countries such as Germany, where it is almost possible to “go racing” on the highways without speed limits, to other countries like Sweden, where you can ride during certain periods of the year only due to weather conditions.
Not to mention that in countries such as Denmark, Norway and the Netherlands, where the MOT for motorcycles is not mandatory, the statistics about accidents and deaths are much better than Germany, that is basically the only country whose current legislation about technical controls is already quite similar to what the TRAN would like to introduce on a continental scale.
To cut it short, the evidence on which the Commission based its impact analysis is neither representative nor sufficient enough to justify the measure.
Road users, and motorcyclists in particular, should have serious doubts about the objectiveness of the EU decision-making process and the actual motives and democratic values of our representatives.
It would not be the first time the EU has been accused of not having its actual people’s interests as a priority.
More info on the matter can be found at FEMA’s official website and dedicated Facebook page, aptly dubbed “No to useless mandatory inspections“.

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