A new Bill of Law or Royal Decree coming into force on May 20 means ITV stations will be equipped with tools that detect emissions fraud, or software installed to mask CO2 and NOx output.
After the ‘Dieselgate’ scandal, which saw hundreds of thousands of cars and vans recalled after Volkswagen was found to have doctored emissions readings, and in light of figures that show air pollution – of which motor vehicles are the main culprit – is directly responsible for over six million deaths a year around the world, Spain is determined to tighten up on any attempts to repeat the scam.
Emissions are already measured at ITV stations in most of Spain’s regions, and excessively-high readings can lead to a fail.
More exhaustive checks will be carried out through new equipment at ITV stations geared towards the more electronic nature of modern cars.
An average car manufactured new today will have up to 100 electronically-controlled units and thousands of components of this type, meaning diagnostic tools will be updated by May to allow for key safety features to be checked.
These include airbags, ABS braking systems and electronic stability programmes, as well as lights and indicators.
The good news for car-owners who are hard-pressed for time, money or both is that they can now have their ITV tests carried out up to a month early, without affecting their annual expiry date.
At present, windscreen stickers show the year and the month when an ITV is due – if January is marked, for example, the owner must have passed the test before February 1 or the car will be illegal.
But new rules would allow them to have the test carried out from December 1 to January 31 in this case.
Additionally, if a car does not pass its first ITV inspection, the owner or main driver will have the right to go to any other ITV centre in Spain – not just in the same region, as the law stands at present – for a re-test and, provided this is within a month of the fail, will be free of charge.
Until the new law in May, drivers were required to return to the same test centre within a month after fixing the problems which caused the failure.
ITV tests will become more European from May – the new Royal Decree allows compulsory inspections from the other EU Member States, such as the MOT in the UK, to be formally recognised in Spain or in any other of the 28 countries in the bloc, which will help with re-registering a non-Spanish car on Spanish plates.
The main aim of the new ITV structure is to aim for the European Union’s target of zero fatal accidents by the year 2050.
This ambitious programme reflects data from ITV centres across Spain, which show that in 2011 – the most recent year for which information is available – test centres prevented 170 road-crash deaths, 11,000 injuries and 11,000 accidents in general.
The report, by the Duke of Santomauro Motor Vehicle Road Safety Institute (ISVA), shows that if the 20% of vehicles on Spain’s roads whose owners did not bother with an ITV had undergone and passed the mandatory test, a total of 7,100 accidents, 7,000 injuries and 110 deaths could have been prevented just in 2011.
As well as responding to new technology, greater awareness about air pollution and accident-reduction measures, the Spanish Association of ITV Administration and Cooperation Entities (AECA-ITV) says the updated requirements of the test are aimed at meeting ‘increasing demand’ from vehicle-users.
“Society is now expecting ITV tests to check their active and passive safety features are in correct working order, and that they are not duped with fraudulent techniques by manufacturers which harm people’s health,” the AECA-ITV reveals.
“The new regulations come in answer to the popular demand for improved road safety and care of the environment.”