This week, the first roadside ITV inspection of a vehicle took place in Spain, as part of a week-long campaign checking commercial vehicles such as buses, trucks and vans which runs until the 16th of October.
According to the DGT, 9% of vans, 4% of trucks and 1% of the buses involved in injury incidents on interurban roads last year had an expired ITV at the time of the incident. Furthermore, the European Union estimates that 6% of incidents are due to technical failures, many of which could have been avoided with proper vehicle maintenance.
The DGT has 5 inspection units which have been deployed around the country with an intention of carrying out 12,000 vehicle inspections each year.
These mobile units have all the necessary technical equipment to carry out the complete ITV inspection, including checking brakes, axle weight, lights and safety equipment, and have thermal imaging cameras to inspect the vehicle thoroughly.
The inspections are carried out by specially trained members of the Guardia Civil traffic department who are able to enforce the inspections on vehicles, as well as carry out the necessary process should a failure or fault be detected.
The plan also form part of an EU directive which states that for the purposes of road safety and environmental protection, the current periodic technical inspection of commercial vehicles is not enough, and so it is necessary to carry out these roadside inspections to monitor the proper maintenance of vehicles on the road, which, as part of the parameters of the process, ensures monitoring compliance with the ITV.
Traffic law dictates that deficiencies in the maintenance of vehicles can be considered a serious offenses, punishable by a 200 euro fine, or a very serious offence resulting in a 500 euro fine. In addition, the vehicle can be immobilised in case of serious deficiencies (brakes, tires, suspension, etc), and the subsequent obligation to submit the vehicle for inspection, once the repairs have been carried out, at a fixed ITV station.
The penalty for driving a vehicle without having passed the ITV is 200 euro, and in the event of driving a vehicle which has failed the test, a 500 euro fine.
In 2015, 25% of buses and 23% of trucks presented to the periodic technical inspection (ITV) failed the test. In the same year, trucks over 3,500 kg of maximum authorized mass and buses were involved in 5,909 injury incidents, in which 293 people were killed.
Most of the fatal incidents involving trucks took place on interurban roads, whereas those involving buses mostly occurred on urban roads. Collectively, distractions are the main causes of incidents involving this type of vehicle.
In order to improve road safety, if repeat offenders are identified, not only will the drives themselves be penalised, but the companies they work for will also find themselves under investigation, facing some liability for any offences committed, and, in the worst cases, having their operating licence withdrawn.
The campaign this week coincides with a similar one across Europe where the European Traffic Police network, TISPOL, are also focussing on trucks and buses. Speed, distractions, alcohol and drugs, seatbelts, documentation and now the technical aspects of the vehicles themselves will be held under the microscope.