Driving without technical control is not without risk. This behavior constitutes a fine and raises the question of insurance in the event of an accident. It can also prevent the sale of the vehicle to an individual. The argus returns to the issues attached to technical control.
According to the National Council of Automotive Professions (CNPA), more than 500,000 vehicles circulate in France without having validated the technical control examination. A situation that is a source of trouble for those who decide not to comply with the law or who simply forget to have their vehicle checked. Vehicles concerned, offence, sale, accident, return to areas in which the absence of technical control may have consequences.
The vehicles concerned and the deadlines to know
Technical inspection has been compulsory in France since 1er January 1992 for light vehicles weighing less than or equal to 3.5 t. Since that date, it has been required for the following vehicles:
- passenger cars, whatever the type of engine (gasoline, diesel, electric, hybrid, LPG, hydrogen);
- motorhomes with a total laden weight of less than 3.5 t;
- collector’s vehicles and vintage vehicles.
In addition, there are other categories of vehicles subject to specific rules such as commercial vehicles and company vehicles, taxis and passenger vehicles with driver, etc. The list of vehicles concerned by the compulsory technical inspection will also soon grow.
Pursuant to an interim order issued on May 17 by the Council of State, them motorcycles with a cylinder capacity greater than 125 cm3as well as heavy quadricycles must comply with this technical control obligation from 1er October 2022. Smaller two-wheelers and light quadricycles should also be required to do so from 1er January 2023, unless there is a new decree to exclude them from the system.
The deadlines for the technical control to be respected
The deadlines to be met are threefold since the technical inspection must be carried out under the following conditions:
- in the six months preceding the expiry of a period of four years from the date of first entry into circulation;
- thereafter, every two years (every five years for vehicles with a collection registration card);
- in the six months preceding the sale of the vehicle.
Be careful, because the expiry date of the technical control is the day before the anniversary date of the previous one. Passing the technical control two years to the day after the previous control therefore places the owner in an irregular situation with regard to the Highway Code.
A fine punishable by immobilization and impoundment of the vehicle
Article R. 323-1 of the Highway Code punishes the fact of putting or maintaining in circulation a vehicle not subject to compulsory technical inspection. The amount of the fine for this fourth class offense varies according to the settlement period:
- €90 if the fine is paid within 3 days;
- €135 if payment is made within a period of between 4 and 45 days;
- €375 in the event of payment after 45 days;
- €750 maximum in the event of a conviction by the police court after the offense has been challenged.
The owner of the vehicle also risks the immobilization of the vehicle and even its impoundment if he persists in refusing to pass the technical inspection or to carry out the repairs prescribed following the technical inspection. To note that the Government is currently considering the possibility of verbalizing this offense through automatic speed cameras.
A “must have” in case of sale between individuals
To sell or transfer your vehicle free of charge to an individual, it is mandatory to pass the technical control within the six months preceding the transaction.
If the technical control detects major failures subject to counter-visit, this will not prevent the sale if the buyer agrees to buy the vehicle as it is. In this case, to be able to register the vehicle in his name, the buyer must submit his registration certificate application to the ANTS during the two-month period allowed to pass the counter-visit. Naturally, to be able to drive, he will then have to have the vehicle repaired in order to remedy the defects noted during the technical inspection.
Only critical failures prohibit the sale of the vehicle to an individual. This type of failure imposes a repair within 24 hours under penalty of immobilization until the repair.
If the vehicle does not have a valid technical inspection or if one or more critical failures have been identified before the sale, there remains the possibility of selling it to an automotive professional. But, in this case, the price offered by this professional will necessarily be lower than the rating of the vehicle given its condition and the repairs to be carried out.
What about accident insurance?
We often read that the lack of technical control would deprive the driver of the guarantees provided for in his insurance contract. This is incorrect! The insurance companies do not ask for any details relating to the technical control in the questionnaire prior to the subscription of the contract. This effectively excludes the risk of nullity of the contract or reduction of compensation incurred in the event of a false or inaccurate declaration.
Moreover, the insurance cannot exclude the application of the compulsory civil liability guarantee following an accident. In the event of an accident at fault, it will indeed be obliged to compensate the third party victims of the accident, whether or not the vehicle of the driver responsible is in order with regard to the technical inspection. And, in this case, it will not be able to turn against its insured to obtain reimbursement of the sums paid to the victims.
In the event of a non-responsible accident, the fact of not having a valid technical control cannot have any consequences on the compensation of the one who was however in the illegality.
However, the insurance has the option of reducing or excluding optional guarantees, ie compensation for material and bodily injury to its insured when the latter is responsible for an accident. The insurer can only do so here on the double condition that the lack of technical control is linked to the occurrence of the accident and that it is expressly referred to in the special conditions of the insurance contract as a cause of exclusion or limitation of warranty.
However, this is never the case since the clauses of the insurance contracts exclude compensation for damages which would be the consequence of a lack of maintenance of the vehicle and not of the absence of technical control. In practice, the insurance company cannot therefore default by invoking non-compliance with the regulations relating to technical inspection to limit or exclude the compensation of its insured for the repair of its own damage.
But the insurance companies ask their adjuster to be particularly attentive to the existence of a possible lack of maintenance in connection with the accident if the insured vehicle was not in order…
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