UK-Industry Body calls for Licensing Car Mechanics to be an Election Issue
LONDON, Dec 2014 : The UK Government does not currently regulate car dealers and garages, but 70% of voters believe they do, and the IMI - an association representing motor industry workers - says UK consumers are totally unaware of how vulnerable they are when choosing a garage.
From results of research conducted through Vital Research & Statistics and by BMG Research, the association says consumers assume Government is taking care of their safety and consumer rights, but service providers don't need any qualifications to operate, nor have to undergo any external independent checks on their competence to work on private vehicles. Thus the IMI is calling on the major political parties to include a mandatory License to Practice for the motor trade in their 2015 election manifestoes.
Steve Nash, CEO of the IMI said, "The majority of motorists choose a garage or mechanic without sufficient information to verify their competence to do the job. The proliferation of hybrids and complex driver assist systems has already increased the skills requirements for effective and safe working on modern vehicles."
The IMI's research also shows that 90% of businesses in the sector are in favour of licensing to protect them from being undercut by rogue traders. It plans to meet with the leaders of all the main political parties to put the case for licensing, and they say the template for licensing already exists in IMI Accreditation and its Professional Register (http://www.imiregister.co.uk), so there's no excuse for any delay in introducing licensing after the election has been run and won.
The IMI calculates there are currently 148,000 mechanics operating in the UK whose skills and current levels of competence they cannot verify. No doubt they counted only garages, not car electrical specialists, so the number will be somewhat higher. If they succeed then it would only be a matter of time before anyone working on a vehicle will need to have had proper training and be licensed. And it wouldn't be a moment too soon. How many accidents and vehicle fires have already been caused - proven or otherwise - due to shoddy car mechanical or electrical workmanship? One would be one too many. We support the IMI's efforts here. [KOB]