Vehicle inspections, a costly trauma without improving highway safety
SANTO DOMINGO. Heredio Galva’s car, a 1987 Toyota Corolla, has the plastic lens of the lights broken, the front mirror is cracked, the rear-view mirror on the right is tied on with wires and the seat cover of the back seat is some sponge rubber tied on with some cables. And he also has his valid vehicle inspection sticker.
“They do not inspect old cars. With the old cars one has to go around back,” Galva says emphatically. This driver of the V Centenario route says without any strings that he paid bribes in order to obtain the seal by the Directorate General of Ground Transportation (DGTT): “I paid RD$450 pesos for mine….to someone inside who came out and I told him: I am going to wait here.” Other drivers said that paid up to RD$900 for the sticker.
The director of Ground Transportation, Luis Estrella, said that in service modules they did not issue the stickers in a fraudulent manner, or without having passed the vehicles technical inspection, but he did confirm that some inspectors were able to obtain some stickers in order to sell them.
“We estimate that we have fired about 20 inspectors over this…and we have had reports, suspicions, that they could have taken the stickers and sold them,” he argued.
For Estrella, the reason that vehicles that are not fit to use the roads are on the streets with their inspections up to date, which is because they obtained the inspection sticker in a fraudulent manner, is that “we are dealing with human beings; the human being is very inclined towards corruption.”
Although Law 241-67 on vehicular transit establishes that each year the inspection sticker should be obtained, since 2010 the drivers have not gone through this process. Luis Estrella, the director of transportation since then, explains the reason why: “I felt that it was not the best time to issue the inspection stickers, because there was a lot of corruption,” so that he preferred to wait until the law was modified. Nevertheless, he says that there was “pressure” from public opinion for the vehicles to be inspected, and if they did not do it, they would accuse him of ignoring the laws.
Estrella says that the DGTT was aware that the situation was not easy to handle, because the number of vehicles is fairly large and the inspection is done at only 20 places in the country. In addition he said that “basically, it just covers the costs,” since the sticker is printed in Mexico and costs about RD$20 pesos, plus the logistics involved in the operation.
According to Law 241-67, the “Revista” should be obtained after the payment of a RD$45 tax in the Banco de Reservas, and an inspection that concludes “whether or not the condition of the vehicle constitutes a threat to public safety.”
Estrella says that “getting those vehicles out of circulation is not our problem now,” but rather it corresponds to the General Directorate of Internal Taxes (DGII). It will be the Metropolitan Transit Authority (AMET) which will stop the vehicles that do not meet the conditions necessary to use the roads.
I have met with General Brown (Juan Brown Perez), the director of AMET. He has told me that at a certain time….he will begin the operation which will demand to see the inspection sticker of the vehicles and the vehicles that do not qualify, even though they have the inspection sticker, will be detained and sent to have a new inspection,” he said.
Between 15 July 2013 and 2 April 2014, some 717,142 motor vehicles-of the 1,485,871 that there were in 2012-renewed their inspections. For this they should have undergone an inspection by the DGTT in order to “confirm whether or not their condition constitutes or not a threat to public safety,” according to article 110, paragraph ‘a’ of Law 241-67. According to the information from Ground Transportation, during that period they collected RD$32,271,390 in taxes.
The DGTT estimates that 50% of the cars that are rejected during the first moments of the inspection return with the problems corrected. The driver Heredio Galva feels that “there is a mafia everywhere in the county.” He is aware of the fact that his vehicle is not fit to be on the streets, but “I don’t have the cash” to correct the problems or change the car.
Rough draft of Transportation Law
The transportation law has been in force since 1967. At the present time there is a draft of a “Law of transportation and ground movement” that creates a Board of Directors for Transit and Ground Transport, a direct dependency of the Executive Branch. At the present time the agencies that regulate transit are part of the Ministry of Public Works. This law would change the way in which the inspection sticker is obtained, because it would authorize private workshops “so that they can carry out the mechanical-technical inspections on motor vehicles.”
Category: DR News |