Heavy vehicles are an integral part of our economy. With many carrying 90 tonnes or more, it is vital that all components are inspected and checked after an accident and the necessary repairs performed. On our roads, a heavy vehicle that is not repaired to the highest standard is a risk to the driver and others using the road. Therefore, it is imperative that all heavy vehicles involved in a collision have all critical items inspected – not to do so could be catastrophic.
Because of this risk, we firmly believe that the practice of insurers making a cash settlement to owners to be problematic, at best. It opens the door for owners to seek to have their vehicles repaired for the lowest possible cost, in order to keep the extra money. Or owners sell their damaged vehicles at auctions or privately, and the new owners get them repaired at the lowest possible without a thorough understanding of the vehicle’s damage history.
We believe that there needs to be a change to stop this risky practice, including recording damaged heavy vehicles in a register (written off or not). de-registering the damaged vehicle, identifying the defects and all repairs must be undertaken by a licenced and qualified heavy vehicle repairer. Only when all this has been completed, the repairer would provide a signed letter of compliance and the vehicle could be re-registered.
We strongly believe changes to this dangerous practice will save lives and reduce injury and trauma to the public. It will also protect our industry from misleading and deceptive conduct by a seller of a written off or wrecked heavy vehicle, as information will be available via a NEVDIS vehicle history check. Other benefits include protection against fraudulent claims and a reduction in insurance costs. For our industry, there will be an increase in the availability of second-hand parts, reducing repair costs.