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New legislation in Ireland to tackle write-offs

Ireland tackles write-offs
Ireland plans to legislate against severely damaged vehicles.
In Ireland, new measures are planned to ensure that severely damaged vehicles stay off the road, with drivers who put severely and irreparably damaged vehicles back on the road facing new sanctions.

According to a report in the Irish Times, currently it is an offence under their road traffic law to drive an unsafe vehicle that endangers other road users. The Irish Department of Transport has an arrangement whereby insurers notify it of vehicles damaged beyond repair to ensure certain written-off vehicles stay off the road. The process does have flaws For example, it lacks a statutory footing and doesn’t account for economic write-offs or foreign write-offs.

Irish Minister for Transport Leo Varadkar said he will tackle these issues by introducing a statutory control procedure for written-off vehicles. Consideration is also being given to the creation of a “death certificate” for vehicles.

Leo Varadkar commented “The objective of this would be to ensure that severely and irreparably damaged vehicles are never let back on the road, and, where a written-off vehicle can be repaired, it will only be allowed back into service if repaired to acceptable standards, with such repairs being independently assessed and certified.”

This will involve new sanctions for anyone who puts a car back on the road which was supposed to have been taken off the road. A spokesman said the department would be guided by the Attorney General as to the most appropriate penalty.

The measures are expected to be in their Road Traffic Bill 2014 and will include damaged vehicles being assessed by an automotive engineer in a procedure likely to be overseen by the Road Safety Authority.

Currently the National Vehicle Driver File maintains a database of vehicles damaged beyond repair as notified by insurance companies.

The details of these vehicles - of which there have been some 40,000 in the past five years - are then “locked down”, meaning that no transactions, such as renewal of annual motor tax or change of ownership can be recorded in respect of that vehicle.

Cartell, Ireland’s car history check commends the Government for swift action on the issue of regulation of vehicle write-offs. Cartell estimate that at least 6 deaths occur per annum in Ireland in vehicles which were previously written off.

It will be interesting to see if the UK government are watching these developments, particularly DVLA who should be taking the re-registering of vehicles more seriously!

February 2014

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