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Rogue garage ruling renews license call

The Institute of the Motor Industry has renewed its call for vehicle technicians to be licensed following a High Court ruling of negligence against a Manchester garage

The judge found that Main Line Auto Engineering Ltd, trading as Manchester Motor Bodies, had failed to detect and correct faulty brakes on a van which had contributed to a fatal accident.

He concluded that the proprietors would be liable to pay compensation, yet to be assessed by the court. But the IMI, which has consistently championed regulation of technicians, believes that if a compulsory licensing scheme had been in place the chances of shoddy workmanship or sheer incompetence leading to a fatal accident would have been substantially reduced.

Sarah Sillars, IMI chief executive, comments: “Customers have a right to expect a thorough and professional service from our industry, which means dealing with fully competent and trained staff. As this court case has proven, there is an absolute need for the regulation of technicians by the implementation of a rigorous and consistently applied process and standard for technician recruitment, development and assessment that also offers long-term cost benefits. It is not acceptable that someone can get a job without any qualifications in such a complex industry.”

A major four-month study by the IMI, published earlier this year, confirms the vehicle service and repair segment is suffering from serious shortcomings, inconsistencies and poor practice. The research drew comparisons with other industry sectors, such as aerospace and gas installation in which technicians are strictly regulated by law.

The institute supports the Government-backed voluntary Good Garage scheme but says it does not go far enough in placing the onus for competence on the individual.

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