New citizen-led programme to improve accountability of vehicle inspection centres in Georgia
In January 2018, the government of Georgia launched a nationwide reform on Periodic Technical Inspection (PTI). PTI is similar to the UK MOT and includes the inspection of vehicles in relation to safety and roadworthiness. Initially, the reform in Georgia was applicable only to certain types of vehicles but since January 2019 inspection has become mandatory for all types of vehicles. The purpose of this reform is to reduce emissions and the number of road crashes in the country, to ensure vehicle safety and minimize the damage to humans and environment caused by vehicles’ technical deficiencies. The change was spurred on by Georgia’s Association Agreement with the European Union, under which Georgia was obliged to resume inspections.
One year on it has been identified that while the inspection process has been generally well-organized, there a number of shortcomings and challenges that have arisen in the process. The main issue has been a low level of civil responsibility. For example, there has been evidence of vehicle owners avoiding their responsibility to fulfil the technical requirements with a high number of cancellations and ‘no shows’ at test centres, while some PTI centres have been found to be conducting less than thorough checks – resulting in some customers choosing these centres above those which a more rigorous.
Till now, the inspection quality has also largely been based on the inspector’s individual qualification and personal discretion, with each PTI centre training their staff independently. There has been no systematic monitoring system, with PTI centres running several independent databases of inspective vehicles. It has therefore been difficult to get a comprehensive picture of the impact and effectiveness of the reforms. Monitoring of the PTI process is currently conducted through the analysis of 24-hour CCTV surveillance.
The need to introduce an effective and transparent monitoring system is clear to determine the effectiveness of the reform in Georgia. With the support of the Open Society Foundation, Partnership for Road Safety have therefore launched a dedicated online platform, http://www.ptimonitoring.ge/en, to inform and empower citizens to hold vehicle inspection centres to account in Georgia.
The platform includes two interactive maps. The first shows all the PTI centres in Georgia and allows citizens to provide information and reviews on each centre’s performance, including violations and shortcomings in the inspection process.
The second map features statistics and geographical data on the number of traffic incidents caused by vehicles with technical malfunctions. Linked to Traffic Police data, icons will appear on the map where crashes have been reported, as well as information on how many people were injured or killed. The map will hopefully enable citizens and other stakeholders to better visualise the scale of the problem when it comes to road safety and why proper vehicle maintenance is so important. The platform also includes articles, photos, videos, legislation advice, and other information related to road safety. Details on the operation of the platform and how citizens can engage with it will be posted at all PTI centers in the coming months. Overall, it is hoped that involving people in the monitoring process and presenting them with user-friendly visualisations will play a positive role in the successful implementation of the wider reform.
A communication and advocacy strategy has been developed to present the findings and recommendations captured through the platform to relevant agencies and stakeholders with the aim of ensuring compliance with the mandatory periodic technical inspections according to the European Parliament and Council Directive.
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