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Mexico Prepares Mandatory Vehicle Verification

By Guillermo Rosales Zarate - Mexican Association of Automotive Dealers (AMDA)
Executive President


By Guillermo Rosales | Executive President - Wed, 05/25/2022 - 11:00

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The "vehicular technical inspection," or "vehicular technical review" as it is known in other countries, has its origin in Europe in 1977. Currently, it is common in Europe, Asia, Africa and the Americas. In the Americas, in addition to Canada and the US, it is practiced in at least 12 countries: Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela, which have between 10 and 20 years of experience performing such verifications. At present, it is carried out through a homologous service, objective and, in some ways, quantifiable.

Its objective is to ensure that vehicles in circulation maintain safety conditions above the minimum established in order to reduce accidents. In all the countries of the world where this type of review has been implemented, results have been observed in the reduction of road accidents, bringing with it the reduction in injuries and their intensity, as well as the number of related deaths. Along with all this, there is a clear reduction in the social and economic cost of tragedies related to the lack of road safety for both individuals and the federal government.

It is important to point out that its implementation has generally involved a gradual process while the population becomes familiar with its operation and knows how to take advantage of the aforementioned revisions. The evaluation by third parties of the physical state in which a vehicle circulates can provide certainty to the driver, who can be confident that the mechanical service they provide is real and that corrective actions in time can avoid serious consequences in cost and, above all, in the lower possibility of suffering a road accident.

In most countries where the verification of the physical and mechanical conditions of a vehicle is carried out, it is simultaneously performed with the review of polluting emissions. This action has been implemented to reduce costs in terms of infrastructure and personnel by the verification centers and in the case of the vehicle owner, there is a clear saving of time and money.

Road Safety

In December 2020, the Political Constitution of the United Mexican States established that "Every person has the right to mobility in conditions of road safety, accessibility, efficiency, sustainability, quality, inclusion and equality." Within the framework of a reform, the General Law of Mobility and Road Safety is about to be published, where the federal entities and municipalities are empowered to verify the safety of vehicles in circulation.

On the other hand, but along the same lines, for the second time, Mexico has adhered to the Decade of Road Safety 2021-2030 promoted by the UN, whose objective is to reduce deaths due to road accidents by at least 50 percent. It is important to remember that these may happen to pedestrians, cyclists, passengers and drivers of any type of motor vehicle. All measures taken to increase awareness and respect for the preservation of health and life itself are important.

Application of NOM-236-SE-2021

Although it is necessary to drastically increase road safety in our country, this is a systemic issue that must be addressed as such. As in the rest of the world, this review will not solve everything, so it should be seen as one more gear in the system that has been put in place to improve road safety and mobility in our country. The suggestion for implementing the NOM should be, as mentioned above, gradual and progressive: either by addressing the most important points, avoiding sanctions and only issuing recommendations. Mexico already has experience with this type of gradual instrumentation. It is enough to review the history of the polluting emission reviews whose first NOM on the subject dates back to 1976 and, more recently, in 1993.

According to the INEGI, as of April 2022, 34,602,533 light vehicles circulate in our country, of which their polluting emissions is known in order to regulate the environmental pollution that affects the entire population, but their physical and mechanical situation is unknown, which, if deficient, can have immediate consequences on the health of its passengers and for the environment.

Like all Mexican Official Standards, NOM-236-SE was prepared under the process of the Federal Law on Metrology and Standardization, as well as its update, the Quality Infrastructure Law; According to the NOM, its own regulatory antecedent is NMX-D-228-SCFI-2015 Criteria, procedures and equipment for the review of the physical and mechanical conditions of motor vehicles in circulation whose gross vehicle weight does not exceed 3,857kg. The NMX declaration of validity was published in the Official Gazette of the Federation on June 3, 2015.

As established in the Regulatory Impact Analysis analyzed by Conamer, the Ministry of Economy estimated a top amount of $900.00 pesos, explaining that there are many asymmetries in the world in the value of this verification and that, on many occasions, the existing amount is accompanied by the verification of polluting emissions, in such a way that you can find countries where the cost is equivalent to $300.00 and in others up to $2,500, as is the case of Germany. It is worth clarifying that, despite having arrived at a high-cost estimate, the economic advantages for the population and the federal government are widely advantageous. Let us remember that beyond the issue of public health that is addressed, the whole world is working for the reduction of human losses and victims of road accidents.

The exclusions of vehicles established by the norm, such as those weighing less than 400kg, those destined for agricultural work, construction and mining and even old cars, are due to the fact that their physical and mechanical characteristics are different from those established in this NOM.

The intervals with which a vehicle will undergo the technical inspection in question will be according to the estimated wear of its components due to use. For this reason, it is established that intensive-use vehicles will undergo this process one year after they are placed on the market and annually thereafter; for private transport vehicles, four years after the date of its sale as a new vehicle and from that date every two years until the ninth year. Private transportation vehicles of 10 or more years old after their commercialization will have to be reviewed annually.

The review of physical-mechanical conditions is structured in such a way that minor, serious or very serious defects are established. With the defects that are classified as minor, the vehicle will be allowed to circulate and will not require reprocessing in the verification. Included in this category are some defects in operation and color of lights, windshield wipers and slight wear in some components. Serious defects are those that may be putting the driver, passengers and the environment where they circulate at risk. The very serious defect implies a direct and immediate risk to road safety and implies disabling the vehicle for circulation until the defect is remedied. In this section, there are very few circumstances listed, such as the absence of a windshield, serious problems detected in the braking system that may imply imminent danger, highly compromised integrity of the steering box or detection of abundant fuel leaks with the risk of fire.

It is important to keep in mind that, although the NOM is issued by a federal organism, it is the state and municipal governments that will establish vehicle inspection programs with the help of agencies authorized to carry out the evaluation.

As background, we know that some environmental verification centers already have a pit and test bench and that the Mandatory Vehicle Verification Programs in environmental matters already contemplate this item as a voluntary verification, an action that could serve as a pilot for drivers to understand the review, just as dozens of countries have done in their implementation process. At the moment the cost is unknown, but it is known that if it is carried out simultaneously with the verification of environmental conditions, the amount drops considerably.

Photo by:   Guillermo Rosales Zarate

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