Bridging the Gap

In the United Kingdom and Ireland, the resale of Category C (S) and D (N) vehicles is not controlled because there is no mechanism to determine whether these recycled vehicles are repaired to a degree such that they are secure and safe to drive. The concern is that these vehicles may be involved in road traffic collisions and as consequence cause injury or death to the vehicle occupant/s and/or possibly other road users. 

Prior to the study ‘Bridging the Gap’, the quantity of the circulation of these vehicles was an unknown throughout the British Isles (the island of Ireland and Great Britain). There was a huge knowledge gap between what is suspected and what the real effects of these insurance write-offs are on our roads. 

In spite of the dissemination of a survey online and through social media, the response was poor which based on the findings, appeared to be because potential respondents were unwilling to provide information which may have been due to the owners’ concerns of losing their insurance cover, or the refusal of insurers to pay out in case of an accident.

Given the poor response, the next step was to access data provided from official sources, other government agencies and find further information through journalists, police as well as the monitoring of vehicle auction sites. What transpired from these contacts and the information made available, was that there is reason to be concerned about the sale of unsafe vehicles which end up on public roads. 

The main recommendation of the study is that the logical solution is the regulation and control of the write-off category S by amalgamating it with category B to be broken up for parts. It is a solution that would benefit the insurance industry as the parts of these S category vehicles can continue to be sold. Any loss could be offset by the potential return of green parts sales, but the most important factor is that by doing so, it would make our roads safer.

Link to document

A report by Elaine Hardy PhD

This study was supported with a grant from the Rees Jeffreys Road Fund.

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