New Brunswick

Public's input sought on plan to switch motor vehicle inspections to every 2 years

The New Brunswick government is seeking public input on plans to switch annual motor vehicle inspections to every two years, effective January 2020.

Change would apply to personal passenger vehicles under 4,500 kilograms, starting in the new year

New vehicles are manufactured to a higher standard today, Public Safety Minister Carl Urquhart has said.

The New Brunswick government is seeking public input on plans to switch annual motor vehicle inspections to every two years, effective January 2020.

The proposed changes to the Motor Vehicle Act for personal passenger vehicles are available online for public review until Nov. 27, Public Safety Minister Carl Urquhart announced on Thursday.

Under the proposed regulations, new vehicles with a gross vehicle mass under 4,500 kilograms would have an initial inspection that would be good for three years, while older personal vehicles would be require inspection every two years.

The cost of inspection for personal passenger vehicles would be $45 every two years rather than the current cost of $35 annually.

A break for car owners

"The government is committed to making it less expensive to own a car," Urquhart said in a statement.

"Reducing the requirement for motor vehicle inspections to once every two years is a step towards making it more affordable and convenient for the driving public."

Commercial vehicles will still require annual inspections, and police officers will continue to have the authority to order vehicle inspections, he said.

Changes to annual vehicle registrations are still being considered, the minister told reporters. But it could cost the province about $59 million in lost revenue — money he doesn't want to see cut from other departments, such as health or education.

The People's Alliance has been pushing for one-time registration for all privately owned passenger vehicles.

"It's a revenue source and you can colour it any way you want, but the reason we do register vehicles, a lot of time, other than to know what vehicles are on the road and what type of transports are on the road and this type of stuff, it is cost. And that's what we have to look at," said Urquhart.

Public Safety Minister Carl Urquhart said anyone who disagees with the change can continue to get their vehicle inspected annually, if they wish. (Ed Hunter/CBC)

The department has already consulted with a number of groups on the proposed MVI changes, including the Canadian Automobile Association and the New Brunswick Police Association, and not everyone is in favour, he said.

"I've learned over my life, any change at all is gonna have pushback There are concerns everywhere from — it's going to cause major upheaval in damage, to 100 per cent, we love it."

Urquhart contends modern vehicles are built to higher safety standards and don't require annual inspections, but he pointed out those who disagree can continue to get their vehicle inspected every year.

Garages that conduct the inspections will get $35 of the new fee, while the province will maintain the $10 it gets now to cover the cost of inspection stickers and administration, said Urquhart.

Asked about the loss of profit from inspections during the gap years, Urquhart told reporters there would be savings in only having to send out the stickers every two years.

The government announced its intention to do away with annual inspections earlier this year.

"It's not government's responsibility to tell you whether your vehicle is safe," Urquhart had said at the time.

First considered 8 years ago

The new regulations would exempt manufactured trailers of less than 1,500 kilograms from inspection and require only a one-time inspection of homemade trailers of the same weight.

Feedback about the proposed regulations can be submitted by emailing nicole.shorrock@gnb.ca or calling 506-444-3663.

New Brunswick has considered changing its motor vehicle inspection system since at least 2011.

Nova Scotia switched its inspection system in 2009 to exempt new cars for the first three years. They would be inspected every two years after that.

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