Earlier this month Prime Minister Fruendel Stuart in a speech to launch the Barbados Road Safety Council remarked that changes to the Road Traffic Amendment Act will be debated soon in the House of Assembly. In his delivery, he mentioned “issues such as breathalyser testing, procedures relating to writing off vehicles and frequent inspection of vehicles.” Although on the surface the proposed changes seem harmless, media announcements promoting the amendments to the Act in recent days suggest that vehicles will have to undergo a 5 year inspection. In the absence of a rationale for the 5 year time period to be embedded in the Road Traffic Act, one is left to wonder what manner of madness is this.
The obvious conclusion to draw is that government is once again responding to a lobby by new car dealers. It is no secret the number of new car sales has declined in the last 3 years or so. A system which requires inspection after 5 years creates an opportunity to force those who own vehicles 5+ years to make the leap to a new car sooner rather than later.
The current discussion is a reminder of the rise and fall of the used car sector commonly referred to as ‘recondition cars’. Many Barbadians were able to afford a decent car at a reasonable price until the new car dealership lobby and questionable invoicing practices by a few in the used car industry saw its demise.
Many Barbadians are left to wonder why government has taken the decision to make law the need to have a vehicle undergo a 5 year inspection.