Why have the fees gone up?
The fees have gone up to help fund a reform programme which will make our roads safer for everyone. The reform programme will also level the competitive playing field for commercial vehicle operators by reducing non-compliance. The RSA has also ensured that the new system will deliver several administrative improvements for operators. As a result of all the new reforms the fees for testing the roadworthiness of commercial vehicles have changed. From 7th October 2013 the fees include a new road safety levy. The reform process has been worked on since 2007 and there have been no fee increases since then. The RSA has financed the upfront capital investment in the new system so that the fee increases would only apply from the time benefits are being delivered. The reforms have their inception in the Kenstown and Clara collisions in which a number of children tragically lost their lives at a time when there was huge concern about the standard of our commercial vehicles at home and abroad.
Issues of concern continue today…
We still are very concerned by the number of defective commercial vehicles on our roads. While many operators maintain their vehicles to the highest standards, many others do not. These operators are making our roads less safe and are also undercutting compliant operators. In 2012, RSA roadside checks were carried out on over 3,500 vehicles and 1 in 2 commercial vehicles on our roads were found to have defects. Disturbingly, 32% of these defects were defined as serious or dangerous. In these cases, the truck or bus involved required immediate attention and was prohibited from continuing its journey. This situation is of significant concern to the RSA and clearly highlights the need to reform the system of testing and monitoring the roadworthiness of commercial vehicles in Ireland. We are also aware that current rates of annual testing compliance are unacceptable. Of 1,000 randomly sampled commercial vehicles aged 5 years, only 70% of the legally required tests were conducted (i.e. 3,500 out of 5,000). This contributes to poor roadworthiness standards. Further, testing compliance rates for trailers are also unacceptable. There are approximately 45,000 trailers registered on the National Vehicle & Driver File (NVDF) but only 19,000 of those trailers were tested during 2010.
What is the levy being used to fund?
The levy is being used to fund several reforms which will support compliant operators : An enhanced testing system with new benefits for road transport operators which support excellent customer service, including:
- Easy to use online test booking and reminder system
- Automatic posting of CRWs to registered owners eliminating the need to go to the motor tax office to exchange a pass statement for a CRW.
- Fewer documents to produce at the CVR testing centre – you don’t need to bring your vehicle registration document to the test anymore. This is significant improvement for any operator with vehicles all around the country.
Performance management and supervision of the testing system by the RSA to ensure that tests are being conducted to a high consistent standard across the country
New maintenance obligations
The RSA has commenced premises inspections to ensure operators are aware of and meeting their obligation to have a maintenance system and driver walk around checks. The initial visits will be educational, but, the RSA also has powers to enforce to ensure compliance.
Increased enforcement at the roadside targeted at non-compliant operators
Already in 2013 the number of vehicles checked at the roadside has doubled over 2012. With the new system enforcement will be targeted at non-compliant operators more and more, letting compliant operators go about their daily business with minimum risk of disruption.
New operator portal
Which can be used by operators as a repository for their fleet. All in all, the new system will:
- improve the compliance of commercial vehicles and deliver safer roads for all road users,
- support compliant commercial operators who are currently being undercut by non-compliant operators
- deliver several administrative improvements for commercial vehicle operators in connection with the annual test.
Levy will apply only to the following tests
The levy only applies to the annual test
Levy does not apply to
- Any motor caravan tests.
- Enforcement tests