While I have completed the ‘tick’ survey [about the possibility of introducing an MoT-style test to Manx cars] I would like to add more detailed comments.
As an ex-police officer I am aware of many of the issues involved.
When the MoT was first introduced in the UK there were not various other avenues that are now available.
All our towns now have some form of traffic warden many of whom carry radios. Vehicles in poor condition can be readily identified particularly tyres, body and lights. The details of any substandard vehicle or one with an out-of-date or no tax disc can quickly be passed to the police.
To obtain road tax today, an applicant has to show a current certificate of insurance and this includes transferring the road tax when a new vehicle is purchased.
Perhaps the best idea in the survey was that of checking thoroughly the vehicle ownership. However having been down to the test centre to register a ‘new’ vehicle I have been impressed with the diligence of the staff in checking engine, body and chassis identification.
The police have far more powers of inspection etc nowadays and roadside checks should be encouraged. The Christmas drive to reduce drunken driving could easily include a more detailed vehicle inspection. Likewise during the winter months a rigorous drive on vehicle lights would be welcome. We have many areas such as the one close to my home at Glen Mona in the speed restricted area by The Dhoon School where speed checks should be extended and these should include a vehicle inspection.
There are, in the island, a very aware public who readily contact the authorities regarding vehicle issues.
During their normal foot patrols officers can and should be watching out for substandard vehicles and they have the powers already to carry out an inspection.
We live in a contained environment i.e. in an island and to compare in the survey what happens elsewhere is somewhat perverse. The EU countries all have Freedom of Information Acts, the Isle of Man does not. The survey is not comparing like with like.
I would suggest that a major cause of accidents in the island is the poor standard of driving when compared with the UK. What are the respective percentage single vehicle accidents in the IoM when compared with the UK?
There are powers and procedures already available and this proposal for vehicle testing is purely an attempt on the part of the Department of Infrastructure to strengthen its own position during a difficult economic time. It is intended to justify and possibly increase the department’s budget and at least retain and possibly increase its staff numbers.
Basically this is a revenue-raising exercise and an attempt to consolidate the position of the department at a time when all government departments are under scrutiny and is a further unneeded extension of government bureaucracy.