Inspect the inspection

WE TAKE this opportunity to underline the necessity of ensuring vehicles – both public and private – are inspected for road-worthiness in conformance with the law. This means drivers must fulfil their responsibilities diligently by being timely, and the State should ensure public vehicles are properly certified, combat corruption at the licensing department and facilitate measures to efficiently accommodate a large number of vehicles at both private and public venues.

The last day of 2018 marked the end of the five-month moratorium on car inspections that had been granted by the Ministry of Works and Transport. And, as always with Trinis, this deadline triggered a slew of last-minute attempts to get an inspection.

The length of the moratorium was clearly designed to give drivers a relatively long time in which to seek certification. While its terms should be respected right up to the last minute by the State, its hard not to understand the position of those who argue drivers should never wait until the last minute to get their act in order.

What is more, according to Works and Transport Minister Rohan Sinanan, the moratorium was accompanied by measures designed to substantially widen the venues at which vehicles can be inspected. About 60 garages were added to the complement of inspection venues, with a specific mandate to accommodate T vehicles below 3,200 kgs.

Asked last week if the moratorium might be extended, the minister expressed the position that it would not be. But several have appealed for more time.

Other developments have left the impression that even some public vehicles did not complete all of the processes in time. The PTSC has said some of the certificates for its buses were not placed on the buses. Bus drivers yesterday refused to drive, citing the risk of being denied points on their licences.

At the very least, the PTSC must know that section 27 of the Motor Vehicles and Road Traffic Regulations places a duty on drivers – of both private and public service vehicles – to obtain inspection stickers and certificates. These certificates should have been in place well before the end of the moratorium.

Given that there are over 200,000 vehicles in the country, the ministry would do well to conduct a review examining: whether there are enough inspection venues; the quality of inspection at both private and public venues; the impact of the moratorium, if any; and the extent of corruption in the system, particularly at venues controlled by the Licensing Office. Such a review should make recommendations as to any changes that might make the entire system more robust. It should also recommend measures that might combat abuse of the system.

Indeed, the whole system of the inspection should also be inspected to prevent the mess that seemed set to occur.


"Inspect the inspection"

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