Mercedes club raises red flag on NTSA inspection rules

Mercedes Benz Club Kenya (MBCK) has voiced its objections to the proposed vehicle inspection rules.

The vehicle inspection rules that emanated from the National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) are set to make it mandatory for vehicles to be inspected after every two years.

But the MBCK has raised concerns that the NTSA inspection centres will not be able to sufficiently offer inspection services to vehicle owners in Kenya.

“Due to the obvious increase and demand for inspections should these regulations move forward, there is a need for the establishment of additional inspection centres which would be private entities commissioned to undertake this work,” the Benz Club Kenya said in a statement.

NTSA Inspection Booking, Requirements and Procedure

The club further cast doubts on whether the inspection centres will be able to offer high standard inspections and whether they will stationed in areas of convenience for vehicle owners.

“These inspection centres need to be vetted and graded by motorists and not just the Government to ensure that motorists are getting the highest quality of inspection possible,” the Benz Club Kenya said.

The club also raised concerns on how the NTSA will guard the inspection process against corruption. It noted that many vehicles on Kenyan roads which are required to be inspected annually such as public and commercial vehicles operate without the requisite inspections.

“It is common knowledge that majority of the PSV and Commercial vehicles on our roads today have never been through an inspection centre and they have a valid sticker. More often than not, these stickers are issued to vehicle owners fraudulently without an inspection taking place ” MBCK said.

Below is the statement on proposals and objections from the Mercedes Benz Club Kenya.

Our Proposal:
a) Quality of Service: These Inspection centres should be vetted by Motoring associations and industry experts ensuring that they have requisite skills and equipment equivalent to Automobile Association (AA) 3 Spanner Garage.

b) Fees Payable: This should be standardised and payable online via the E-Citizen portal so as to prevent arbitrary charges being levied by the Inspection centres.

However in principle, the costs of these inspections on the private motorists is an unfair imposition as motorists already bear a very heavy financial obligation with regards to keeping their motor vehicles on the road. The establishment of these private inspection centres, as well as the cost of inspection should be borne by the Government based off the taxes and levies that motorists already pay.

c) Standards: The published regulations do not provide any standards for Inspection. These is necessary considering the varying models and technology used in the same vehicles and would expose vehicle to unnecessary extortion: Case in the braking distance of a Mercedes C Class W 204 2012 Models is not similar to a Renault Megane of the same year. Hence it is necessary for proper research to be undertaken and a manual of guidelines provided for the Inspection centres to adhere to.

d) Effectiveness of Inspection
As private motorists, we note with grave concem that the majority of the PSVs & commercial vehicles that we encounter on the roads do not appear to be road-worthy let alone capable of passing any type of mechanical inspections.

e) Capacity to Inspect and Manage Compliance:
We do not feel that the current motor vehicle inspections are done competently or correctly, and therefore, we have no iota of confidence that our private motor vehicles will be inspected properly. We feel that the Government should instead concentrate on PSVs & Commercial vehicles for the time being and get that system correct before attempting to increase the scope of inspections to private motor vehicles, which inevitably, are maintained and serviced at a much higher standard and frequency.

f) Cost and Time for Inspection:
As owners of private motor vehicles, we feel that the proposed regulations seek to impose an unnecessary burden on the private motoring community, especially financially and time wise. Many private motorists are extremely stringent and diligent in the servicing and maintenance of their motor vehicles and to subject us to routine and unwarranted inspections feels punitive and an over-reach.

Our Proposal:

a) Inspection of Motor Vehicles enforcement and compliance needs to be automated fully, should be fully automated making use of CCTV Cameras, RFID Tags and Number Plate Recognition technology.

b) Currently Inspection of Motor Vehicles is more of a visual process which is prone to abuse and is subject to the limited knowledge of the inspection technician; the use of technology such as emission testers, Jevol suspension testers, Chassis X-Ray tools etc. should be made mandatory before these regulations can be considered for implementation.

c) Valuation of Motor Vehicles for Insurance involves inspection of the motor vehicle hence we feel that this is unnecessary duplication and a waste of time and money.

General Observations:

a) Motor Vehicle inspection will not reduce the number of road accidents as statistics have shown that most accidents occur due to driver or pedestrian errors.

b) NTSA today lacks that capacity to manage the compliance of inspection by Commercial and PSV vehicles hence this new regulations involving private inspection centres is merely creating business for people but burdening the already strained Kenyan motorist.

c) Vehicle inspection made more stringent and extended to private vehicle is a phenomenon in Countries with established public transport systems such as trams, light rail, Rapid Transit Buses etc. and hence the need to decongest cities. This does not apply for the case of Kenya where the public transpon system is chaotic and unreliable hence the need to have private vehicles on the road.

d) Inspection of Motor Vehicles leaving out other forms of transport such as Motor Cycles and Tuk Tuks is unfair and discriminatory considering the widespread use of the same forms and number of accidents in Kenya.

e) Tax paid by motorists especially through the fuel levy is a lot hence annual inspection is an additional unnecessary burden to the Kenyan Motorist.

f) Use of Private inspection centres for PSV and Commercial should be piloted for a period of at least 3 years before any attempt is made at extending the same services to Private motorists.

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