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Repairers risk prison

Garage owners could find themselves in the dock as part of a major negligence crackdown by police and the Health and Safety Executive.

The news comes after a landmark High Court ruling found Auto Engineering, trading as Manchester Motor Bodies, had failed to detect and correct faulty brakes on a van that later crashed leaving one man dead and a woman in a wheelchair (AM, August 8). Compensation has yet to be determined.

Now David Faithful, solicitor and partner in Amery-Parkes, warns that independent and franchise garages could find themselves dragged through the courts.

When investigating road accidents, the police look at three key areas: the purpose of the journey, the condition of vehicle and the condition of the driver.

“The onus is on dealers, fast-fit companies and bodyshops to identify problems to the vehicle owner and for the owner to sanction the work to be carried out,” says Faithful. “If the owner refuses to have the work carried out, the repairer should ask the individual to sign a form to the effect that the problem was highlighted but the opportunity to have work undertaken was refused.” Following the court ruling Faithful says it is imperative that detailed records of all work carried out on vehicles and any work advised but refused are kept on file by repairers.

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