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Motor vehicles and their trailers: roadworthiness test

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Motor vehicles and their trailers: roadworthiness test

Within the framework of the common transport policy of the European Union (EU), this directive harmonises the frequency of roadworthiness tests and details which parts of motor vehicles must be tested. Increased road traffic presents similar safety problems in all EU countries. Minimum standards and methods must therefore be defined within the EU for both private and public motor vehicles.

ACT

Directive 2009/40/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 6 May 2009 on roadworthiness tests for motor vehicles and their trailers (Recast).

SUMMARY

Motor vehicles registered in a European Union (EU) country and their trailers must undergo periodic roadworthiness tests, i.e. to ensure that they are fit to be used on the road. Annexes I and II to this directive detail the categories of vehicles to be tested, the frequency of the roadworthiness tests and the items which must be tested. The roadworthiness tests must be undertaken by the EU countries, or by a public body that has been entrusted with the task, or by bodies or establishments designated and directly supervised.

Annex I details the categories of motor vehicles that are subject to roadworthiness tests and the required frequency of the tests for each category. The minimum testing frequency for the different categories of motor vehicles and their trailers is:

1 year after the date on which the vehicle was first used, and thereafter annually for:

motor vehicles used for the carriage of passengers and with more than 8 seats, excluding the driver’s seat;

motor vehicles used for the carriage of goods and having a maximum permissible mass exceeding 3,500 kg;

trailers and semi-trailers with a maximum permissible mass exceeding 3 500 kg;

taxis, ambulances;

4 years after the date on which the vehicle was first used, and thereafter every 2 years for:

motor vehicles having at least 4 wheels, normally used for the road carriage of goods and with a maximum permissible mass not exceeding 3,500 kg, excluding agricultural tractors and machinery;

motor vehicles having at least 4 wheels, used for the carriage of passengers and with not more than 8 seats excluding the driver’s seat.

Annex II sets out which items must be compulsorily tested. The tests covered by Annex II should be undertaken using techniques and equipment available without the use of tools to disassemble or remove any part of the vehicle. Where the motor vehicle is found to be defective with regard to the test items below, the competent authority in the EU country concerned must set specific conditions under which the particular vehicle may be used before passing another roadworthiness test. The test must cover the items listed in the annex, provided that these are related to the equipment of the vehicle being tested in the EU country concerned. The compulsory test items include:

vehicle identification;

braking equipment;

steering;

visibility;

lighting equipment and parts of electric system;

axles, wheels, tyres and suspension;

chassis and its parts/attachments;

other equipment - safety belts, fire extinguisher, locks and anti-theft device, warning triangle, first-aid kit, speedometer, etc;

nuisance - noise, exhaust emissions, etc;

supplementary tests for public transport vehicles - emergency exit(s), heating and ventilation systems, seat layout, interior lighting.

The vehicle operator or driver must be informed in writing of any defects, the result of the test and the legal consequences. EU countries will take the necessary measures to make it possible to prove that a vehicle has passed a roadworthiness test. Other EU countries and the Commission must be informed of these measures.

All EU countries must mutually recognise the proof issued in another EU country that a vehicle registered there, together with its trailer or semi-trailer, has passed a roadworthiness test in line with this directive. EU countries must also implement all appropriate measures to establish that the brake performance of motor vehicles registered in their country complies with the requirements of this directive.

Exceptions

Despite the provisions of Annexes I and II, EU countries have the right to:

bring forward the date for the first compulsory roadworthiness test and, where appropriate, require the vehicle to be submitted for test prior to registration;

shorten the interval between 2 successive compulsory tests;

make the testing of optional equipment compulsory;

increase the number of items to be tested;

extend the periodic test requirement to other categories of vehicles;

prescribe special additional tests;

require vehicles registered on their territory to have higher minimum standards for braking efficiency than those specified in Annex II and include a test on vehicles with heavier loads, provided such requirements do not exceed those of the vehicle’s original type-approval.

EU countries also have the right to exclude vehicles belonging to the armed forces, the forces of law and order and the fire service from the scope of this directive. After consultation with the Commission, EU countries may exclude from the requirements of this directive certain motor vehicles operated or used in exceptional conditions, and motor vehicles which are never, or hardly ever, used on public highways. Following consultation with the Commission, EU countries also have the right to set their own testing standards for vehicles considered of historic interest.

The Commission has powers to adopt all necessary directives to define the minimum standards and methods for testing the items listed in Annex II of this directive, as well as any amendments necessary to adapt to technical progress in these areas.

Within 3 years of the introduction of regular testing of speed limitation devices, the Commission was to re-examine whether the tests laid down were sufficient to detect defective or manipulated speed limitation devices or whether the rules needed to be modified.

Directive 2009/40/EC is repealed by Directive 2014/45/EU with effect from 19 May 2018.

REFERENCES

Act

Entry into force

Deadline for transposition in the Member States

Official Journal

Directive 2009/40/EC

26.6.2009

-

OJ L 141 of 6.6.2009, pp. 12-28

Successive amendments and corrections to Directive 2009/40/EC have been incorporated in the basic text. This consolidated version is for reference purposes only.

RELATED ACTS

Directive 2014/45/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 3 April 2014 on periodic roadworthiness tests for motor vehicles and their trailers and repealing Directive 2009/40/EC (Official Journal L 127 of 29.4.2014, pp. 51-128).

Commission Recommendation 2010/378/EU of 5 July 2010 on the assessment of defects during roadworthiness testing in accordance with Directive 2009/40/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council on roadworthiness tests for motor vehicles and their trailers (Official Journal L 173 of 8.7.2010, pp. 74-96).

Report from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament on the application by the Member States of Directive 2000/30/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 6 June 2000 on the technical roadside inspection of the roadworthiness of commercial vehicles circulating in the Community Reporting Period 2009-2010 (COM(2013) 303 final of 24.5.2013).

Report from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council on the application by the Member States of Directive 2000/30/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 6 June 2000 on the technical roadside inspection of the roadworthiness of commercial vehicles circulating in the community Reporting Period 2011-2012 (COM(2014) 569 final of 12.9.2014).

Last updated: 04.06.2015

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