P.E.I. won't be changing motor-vehicle inspections anytime soon

The P.E.I. government says it won't be changing the way it does motor-vehicle inspections anytime soon.

New Brunswick is asking the public in that province to weigh in on switching annual vehicle inspections to every two years.

If New Brunswick makes the change, P.E.I. would be the only Canadian province to have yearly inspections, which cost $30 on the Island.

Cst. Ron Kennedy, with the Charlottetown police, said if P.E.I. was to switch its inspection rate, he doesn't think it would greatly impact the police. 

Technicians are telling me that vehicles coming in after a two-year period have more critical issues. — Doug Bethune, motor vehicle expert

"It could help us out in certain aspects and it could hinder us in other aspects," he said.

"It is good to know, I guess, that people are getting their vehicles checked every year, and you know, maintaining a certain amount of safety and making sure that they're being looked at every year." 

'Doesn't compromise road safety'

Julia Kent, a spokesperson for CAA Atlantic, said the organization is supportive of New Brunswick's move.

"It's saving New Brunswickers some money," she said.

"It doesn't compromise road safety in our opinion, because oftentimes the yearly inspection is not necessary and we feel that the two years is a lot more appropriate in most situations."

This would put more impetus of course on the dealerships. — Doug Bethune, motor vehicle expert

Kent said she'd like to see P.E.I. follow suit. 

"We think that that's a good amount of time to go between inspections while still maintaining safe roads in Atlantic Canada."

Under the regulations New Brunswick is putting forward, new vehicles with a gross vehicle mass under 4,500 kilograms would have an initial inspection that would be good for three years. 

Isabella Zavarise/CBC

Kent said she's also in favour of the three-year grace period. 

"We all know brand-new vehicles don't typically need maintenance, so allowing that grace period and saving New Brunswickers even more money is a really great idea," she said.

"And that's something that we don't have in Nova Scotia where I live, and that would be a really good first step for P.E.I."

'More critical issues'

Doug Bethune, auto expert and owner of Tune Bethune Automotive Consulting in Nova Scotia, said he disagrees with moving away from yearly inspections and thinks the province made a mistake when it did so.

"The technicians are telling me that vehicles coming in after a two-year period have more critical issues with them than if they were inspected annually," he said.

Alison Jenkins/CBC

Bethune said he thinks P.E.I. should stick with annual inspections because of Atlantic Canada's weather conditions. 

"We have fairly harsh winters and we have pothole season and we've got high humidity and all those things contribute to the deterioration of the vehicle — particularly when it comes to brakes and steering and road ability and handling suspension."

He said he thinks some vehicles should be exempt from yearly inspections, such as new cars under full warranty for up to three to five years. 

"This would put more impetus of course on the dealerships … in making sure that those vehicles are checked over and make sure they're safe when they come in for maintenance service."

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