Flanders wants car re-inspection to be carried out by garage owners

Flemish Mobility Minister Lydia Peeters (Open Vld) is fed up with the problems at the technical car inspection centers. That is why she wants to engage certified garages for the re-inspection of passenger cars. Today, these re-inspections take place in the 43 accredited inspection centers.

In the summer of 2022, Minister Peeters decided to organize an audit of the operation and customer satisfaction of inspection centers after the complaints piled up.

Poor customer service

The queues at the inspection centers became longer and longer, to the extent that motorists often no longer succeeded in getting their vehicles inspected on time. On top of that, they often had to pay a higher inspection fee because of a late inspection and because they were on the road without a valid inspection certificate.

Another recurring problem was a lack of respect for the vehicles, poor customer service, and, above all, a lack of clarification or too general a description of an identified problem. The latter often led to more expensive or unnecessary repairs.

Flood of complaints

And on top of that, last year, the inspection centers intended to raise the prices by 33%, but their plan was immediately turned down by Minister  Peeters. She suggested first doing something about the flood of complaints about customer friendliness, long waiting times, irregularities, bad communication, and arbitrariness.

As a consequence, questions surfaced about the sustainability of the monopoly position of a private organization like GOCA, which is responsible for periodic car inspections and also runs the examination centers for driver’s licenses.

More effective and customer-oriented

Many garage shops are just as well or often better qualified to carry out a periodic inspection. This could even be done simultaneously with the annual maintenance, which would save time for the customer. Moreover, technical problems could be solved much faster, which improves traffic safety.

Based on the outcome of the audit and all these considerations, Peeters now wants to make the technical inspection more effective and more customer-oriented. Last week, she announced that from now on, drivers will be given a year to repair certain defects.

Certified garage owners

For defects that have no effect on road safety, no immediate re-inspection (within 15 days) will be required. Motorists can wait until the next periodic inspection.

Minister Peeters also considers reforms for the long term. For example, she wants certain re-inspections to be carried out by certified garage owners. “In that case, people can go to their trusted garage mechanic and do not need to travel to the inspection station again for re-inspection.”

Many kilometers saved

Furthermore, Minister Peeters also wants to make the so-called inspection ‘on location’ possible for passenger cars. For the time being, this is only possible for commercial vehicles. Trucks and buses have been able to be inspected on location for ten years now.

The inspection takes place at 21 sites of large companies. Last year, 23 000 inspections were carried out on location. In this way, many kilometers to and from inspection centers were saved.






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