EU to toughen up enforcement rules for spot-checking vehicles
The European Commission, the European Parliament and the 28 member states of the European Council have come to an agreement to make enforcement rules for cars to be much stricter and stronger, with the need for powers to conduct spot-checks to see if manufacturers are complying with rules.
Reportedly prompted by the atrocious Volkswagen scandal that revealed 11 million cars to be fitted with so-called “defeat devices” to cheat emissions testing, European regulators have been working towards building ‘safer and cleaner cars’ ever since.
The European Commissioner for Industry, Elzbieta Bienkowska, reportedly had high praise for the new agreement that promises, “real EU oversight and enforcement powers.”
In a statement, she said:
“In the future, the commission will be able to carry out checks on cars, trigger EU wide recalls, and impose fines of up to 30,000 Euros per car when the law is broken.”
On the Fiat Chrysler and Daimler ‘auxiliary devices’ that are not quite seen as so-called “defeat devices”, Bienkowka noted, “we know that some car manufacturers were cheating and others were exploiting loopholes”. The new laws will hopefully put an end to the secrecy and impropriety in making and selling cars that millions of European Member States rely on every day.
Under the new rules, the use of devices that can amount to “defeat devices”, as used by Volkswagen, must be formally approved by the European Parliament and member states. Of course, Volkswagen’s software would likely not be approved given the nature of it though!
Technical services are also set to be regularly and independently audited to ensure they’re appropriately tested and inspected by member states. Major car makers have been too powerful for too long; companies like Volkswagen have an incredible amount of money and employees, and this can directly affect a country’s economic state. This is why the German government came under huge scrutiny for their strong ties to German-based Volkswagen.
Member States will now have a responsibility to carry out regular spot-checks on vehicles, and publicise the results. In cases of non-compliance, member states can be afforded more powers to act immediately over vehicles on their territory. At the moment, only the state that issued the type-approval has the authority to take action first.
The EU Commission will be surely keeping a close eye on carmakers and the way member states deal with the new rules and powers. They’re set to carry out their own independent market checks and have the power to launch EU-wide recalls.
For carmakers, the biggest concern may be the new sanctioning powers. Those found to have violated the rules may find themselves liable to up to 30,000 euros per non-compliant car. For Volkswagen’s 11 million affected cars, the new sanctions could have seen a colossal 330 billion euro fine!
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