More than 200,000 drivers in Malaga province risk fines for expired ITV tests

The average age of vehicles in Malaga province is 13 years.
The average age of vehicles in Malaga province is 13 years. / JOSELE
  • Delays in getting appointments and confusion over grace periods due to the pandemic contribute to the increase in vehicles missing their mandatory tests

Around 200,000 vehicles are on the roads in Malaga province with an overdue ITV road test, facing fines of 200 euros and putting road safety at risk.

The increase in car owners missing the deadline to renew their compulsory inspection can be put down to a combination of factors: from a simple oversight to confusion over the grace periods granted by the government due to the pandemic, a lack of financial resources to carry out required repairs and a backlog in general at the ITV test centres.

This number of vehicles with expired test certificates accounts for 16 per cent of the 1.23 million vehicles registered in Malaga province. And if just the 830,000 vehicles required to pass the test every year are taken into account, the level of non-compliance goes up to 25 per cent, twice the average figure before the pandemic.

In the case of a vehicle with an out-of-date ITV causing an accident, the insurance company will only cover the damage suffered by other road-users involved. The insurer could even refuse to pay up at all if the accident is caused by a mechanical fault that would have been detected if the motor vehicle test had been passed.

The situation in the rest of Spain is worse than in Malaga. According to AECA-ITV, the association of firms that carry out the tests for the government, of the 2.1 million vehicles that should have taken the test in April, nearly half a million failed to turn up.

"It's clear that the crisis and the increase in remote-working has led to many road-users not using their cars so much and as a consequence maintenance and the compulsory inspection have been neglected. It's not so much because of the cost of the ITV, but that of repairing the vehicle or changing worn tyres," said the association's manager, Guillermo Magaz.

Appointments for July

The closure of the test centres for the two months of the total lockdown last spring automatically produced a backlog of 150,000 vehicles in Malaga province (650,000 in Andalucía), on top of the 40,000 whose tests were already out of date before the state of alarm and who were given priority when activity resumed.

Veiasa, the public company responsible for testing in Andalucía, said that it wanted to catch up in five months, but this has not been achieved, despite staff reinforcements; meanwhile every week 16,000 more tests expire.

At present appointments are being given for dates in July. The average wait for a test is now two months, after extra recruitment at the nine test centres around Malaga province (62 inspectors and nine admin assistants) earlier this year brought it down from four months.

Another 104 inspectors are to be taken on across Andalucía between now and June by Veiasa in an attempt to reduce the wait even further.

The increasing average age of vehicles on the roads in Malaga province - currently at 13 years - is contributing to the backlog. The ITV test requirement is annual once a car turns ten years old. Around 233,000 vehicles are more than 15 years old.

"There's still a lot of work to do, but with these new reinforcements we hope to get up-to-date within two months," said the regional coordinator for the UGT trade union in Veiasa, Romualdo Barcala.

Meanwhile priority is being give to those whose ITV is already out of date or about to expire, which means a longer wait for those who apply well in advance.