John Dwyer, former assistant chief constable of Cheshire, has contacted the police vehicle examiners’ industry body to ask its members to look out for incorrect repairs as the cause of accidents. He’s also handed a dossier to MPs.
It follows a report by Ian White, of the Institute of Automotive Engineer Assessors, which examined the use of ultra high strength steels (UHSS) and boron steel. The report underlines a lack of information available to repairers and insurance assessors on how to deal with the new materials.
Dwyer has also been contacted by several repairers and lobby group BRIC on the issue. He believes there could be civil and criminal liability issues for insurers and work providers if a vehicle is repaired by inappropriately appointed repairers who use incorrect methods.
“It seems abundantly clear to me that we have an important road safety issue here about which the public knows nothing,” says Dwyer. “Some bodyshops are obviously accepting vehicles for repair when they don’t have the equipment or know-how to do the job properly.
“These new steels require a very different repair technique and my informants supplied me with information to suggest that the vast majority of body repair shops in the UK do not have the necessary equipment or training to effect proper repairs.”
According to the ABP Club, fewer than 25% of the UK’s 6,000 bodyshops are currently trained and equipped to repair UHSS and boron steels. Dwyer believes government regulation is the way forward, but accepts that the BSI PAS125 Kitemark currently being developed is a step in the right direction.