Will car inspections return? How the legislator sees this procedure
And what provisions Ukraine will take as an example from EU legislation
The introduction of mandatory vehicle inspections in Ukraine was postponed until the end of martial law. However, its return to Ukraine is being talked about all the time. The background for this was the corresponding Association Agreement with the EU, which entered into force in 2017. Our country had 5 years to implement this mandatory procedure. Therefore, the Ministry of Infrastructure of Ukraine plans to return the inspection by means of the Draft Law "On Amendments to a Number of Legislative Acts of Ukraine on the Safety of Wheeled Vehicles Operation". The bill has now been published on the Ministry of Infrastructure's website and is awaiting adoption. Tetiana Danylenko, the Head of Tetiana Danylenko Law Firm, told Mind what the document provides for all traffic participants and when these changes in legislation should be expected.
Project initiator: the Directorate for Transport Safety at the Ministry of Infrastructure.
The project was developed as part of step 269 of the Government's Priority Action Plan for 2020, approved by the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine on September 9, 2020, No. 1133. The preparation of the document is also stipulated by paragraphs 1797, 1809, 1811, 1833, 1840 and 1843 of the Action Plan for the Implementation of the Association Agreement between Ukraine and the European Union, the European Atomic Energy Community and their Member States, on the other hand, approved by Resolution of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine No. 1106 of 25.10.2017.
The project aims to meet the needs of the society and economy in safe transportation, increase the efficiency of resource consumption and reduce the negative impact of motor vehicles. In addition, the document provides for the adaptation of Ukrainian legislation to the requirements of EU regulations.
Mandatory vehicle inspection is one of the conditions for Ukraine's accession to the EU. The new requirements are introduced in accordance with Directive 2014/45/EU. Therefore, drivers would have had to undergo it as early as 2023, and the innovation was announced in the media.
What it will look like and what car owners and car services should prepare for is below.
What is known about this bill so far
According to the draft law, all passenger cars have to undergo technical inspection every two years.
For new cars, this period is four years after its first registration. Taxis – once a year, and buses – twice a year.
Furthermore, all cars imported from abroad have to pass a technical inspection. The latter also applies to so-called "Euro Plates" that are registered abroad but used in Ukraine.
However, there will be situations when the inspection will need to be carried out off-schedule:
- after the car is re-registered for a new owner (within 10 days);
- after an accident with damage that affected traffic safety;
- after identifying inconsistencies and malfunctions on the road.
We'll talk about the inspection procedure a little later, because the last item on this list is interesting.
The draft document proposes to selectively inspect cars on the roads. If suspicions arise during the inspection or obvious nonconformities are found, the car will be sent to a diagnostic station. And if the inspection shows that everything is fine, the government will pay for the procedure. If not, the inspection ticket will be taken away, and the driver will pay for the inspection. And then the driver will have to undergo the checkup again within a month.
What will be checked during the inspection?
The Law of Ukraine "On Road Traffic" contains a list of systems that will be checked during the inspection. These include:
- braking and steering systems
- tires and wheels;
- gas cylinder equipment;
- external illuminating equipment and other items.
Moreover, the inspection also pays attention to external defects in the car, the workability of the windscreen wipers, the integrity of the windscreen, and the availability of a first aid kit and fire extinguisher. Therefore, you need to prepare your car before the technical inspection.
Where do they plan to carry out the inspection?
The EU Directive stipulates that technical inspections can be carried out by both public and private entities. Anyway, this should be a certified and accredited facility.
Besides, according to the new rules, the technicians performing the inspection have to record everything on camera. The car's licence plate number has to be clearly recorded, as well as the entire process of vehicle inspection.
The cost of the inspection will depend on the car's type.
In order to pass the vehicle inspection, the driver must present the following documents:
- an identity document
- vehicle registration certificate;
- a power of attorney for the right to undergo a technical inspection (if it is not the owner of the car who has applied for the inspection).
What are the fines for the missing vehicle inspection enshrined in the bill?
Vehicles that do not have to undergo technical inspection:
- vehicles that do not move on public roads;
- vehicles driving at a speed of up to 25 km/hour;
- vehicles with an engine capacity under 125 cubic centimetres or those with an electric motor with a power under 4 kW.
There is a fine for the expired vehicle inspection.
If the car owner fails to pass the inspection on time, the first penalty will be UAH 3,400. If, after the first one, the driver again fails to pass the inspection, the amount of the second fine will be higher – UAH 17,000. And, of course, the operation of the cars that has not undergone the inspection on time will be prohibited or restricted.
Pros and cons of these innovations for car owners and service stations
It is not a very good idea to introduce technical inspections in a time of war. The innovation would definitely complicate the lives of car owners. In addition, the service of checking cars for their roadworthiness would not be free, so it would lead to an increase in the citizens' expenses.
The main changes expected after the law that reintroduces the inspection are that the inspection and reports on the condition of the vehicle should be carried out at independent certified service stations.
Moreover, various private companies that have the appropriate equipment and are able to manage the procedure itself can apply for a licence to perform the inspection. This aspect already brings up a number of questions, in particular, whether the procedure will be transparent? After all, the requirements are now set out in such a way that not all service stations will be certified.
Furthermore, the introduction of technical inspections before the war was hampered by the underdeveloped infrastructure of certified centres for checking cars for their roadworthiness.
With the introduction of mandatory car inspections, a considerable number of car owners will find themselves in a situation where their vehicles will not be able to pass the inspection according to safety criteria, as there are a significant number of used cars with high kilometerage in Ukraine.
In addition, in recent years, a record number of cars with so-called European number plates have been imported, requiring substantial improvement in their technical condition. Another risk category are cars with installed gas cylinder equipment, which has become popular over the past 5 years.
When to expect the approval?
However, the government's action plan for the implementation of the Association Agreement, which was approved and updated to meet the need to adjust national legislation to the provisions of the new Directive 2014/45/EU, has been postponed. The main reason for this is the war waged by russia against Ukraine and the introduction of martial law throughout our country.
In such circumstances, the Ministry's efforts are directed at maintaining the operation of the infrastructure, and the completion of the above draft law has been suspended.
Ukraine will initiate the return of mandatory technical inspection under one condition – if martial law is lifted. Only then will the draft be finalised and submitted to the Verkhovna Rada. So, as long as the war continues, car owners will not feel any changes.
At the same time, a significant number of comments and suggestions were received from the public and sectoral unions in the course of the discussions.
Main criticisms of the draft law
The proposed rules do not exclude corruption. After all, this is the reason why technical inspection for cars was cancelled in 2011. Won't we return to buying inspection tickets?
The transparency of certification centres may also be an issue. There is also no answer to the question of where the line between "reasonableness" and excessive scrutiny by inspectors should be. Will attempts to "find fault" with a car owner in an unscheduled maintenance situation, for example, if the car has suffered minor damage after an accident or malfunction on the road, turn into money-making?
Many issues remain to be resolved, because if the innovations work, the process should be properly arranged and the experience of our EU neighbours should be adopted in this regard as soon as possible.