With road fatalities on the rise here in Ireland, is more enforcement in the area of defective vehicle parts one that the Road Safety Authority (RSA) and An Garda Síochána should be much more active in?
For instance, as the RSA has overall responsibility for the NCT and CVRT, as well as overall responsibility for road safety, should it be much more pro-active in publicising the great dangers of defective vehicle parts?
Interesting new analysis from England and Wales reveals that the number of drivers convicted for defective vehicle part offences has reached its highest level since 2014. The data is based on analysis of Ministry of Justice offences data obtained in May 2023.
The findings by Green Flag (part of Direct Line Insurance) show that last year, 12,349 motorists were convicted for defective vehicle parts in England and Wales. This is an 18 per cent increase from the 10,478 convictions in 2021 and a 56 per cent rise from the 7,928 convictions in 2020.
Defective vehicle part offences are a group of motoring crimes that includes defective breaks, steering, gears and tyres. It also covers using a vehicle in a dangerous condition or breaching legal exhaust emission limits.
Of the offences, defective tyres are the most common offence with 9,608 drivers in England and Wales being convicted in 2022. Tyres must meet the legal minimum tread limit of 1.6mm, however it is widely recommended that tyres should be replaced as soon as the tread reaches 3mm.
There are many potential reasons why occurrences of defective parts have risen. Some motorists may now be opting for cheaper defective car parts to offset the rising cost of repairs parts, while others may be delaying repairs as they can’t afford the cost of the maintenance.
According to the Association of British Insurers (ABI), the cost of vehicle repairs rose by 33 per cent year-on-year to £1.5 billion in the first quarter of 2023, the highest figure since 2013.
Motorists convicted in Britain of driving with defective car parts may receive three penalty points on their driving licences and a fine. The average fine for those convicted of these offences in 2022 was £270. That is down slightly from £301 in 2021.
However, the largest penalty for defective vehicle part offences in 2022 was up to £5,000. Three motorists received a penalty around this size last year.