Conflict of interest for vehicle inspection at third-party workshops?

THE process for vehicle road tax renewals has been gradually improved in recent years with moves by the Land Transport Department (JPD) phasing out in-house vehicle inspections and outsourcing to third-party workshops.

This is a laudable as it allows JPD to focus on its core activities of policymaking and enforcement while letting private workshops, whose expertise can be relied on, provide the inspection services.

In my observation, this system has worked while efficiency has improved as customers experience a reduction in processing time compared to before.

There are, however, still a few issues that the authorities will need to look into.

The quality of inspection varies across different workshops. Some are extremely stringent while others are laidback.

One wonders if the workshops are provided sufficient guidelines to implement the vehicle inspection process as required by JPD.

Are there regulations in place to oversee and manage the conduct of the workshops to ensure the inspection processes are aligned and consistent with the national body?

There is the issue of conflict of interest, experienced by some of my peers.

Some workshops have been known to require vehicle owners to purchase certain vehicle parts/items from their workshops before the inspectors can sign-off the vehicle. This creates an ethical problem as the workshop is seen as trying to profit from the customer.

I would urge the authorities to look into this.

I would also like to suggest that the authorities look into having independent third-party vehicle inspection service providers whose core business is purely on providing inspection services (and whose main earnings contributor is not in repair/sale of vehicle parts).

This idea is following closely to the example in the oil and gas industry where there are independent inspectors hired by clients to verify the integrity of the services provided by the contractors to them.

I fully support JPD’s objectives and I hope the authorities can look into these suggestions to further enhance the efficiency of the road tax renewal system.

– Reload Mos