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24/11/2015
MCTCNet2: VEHICLE INSPECTIONS; ITALY LEADING THE WAY

Safe inspections

MCTCNet2, launched as an instrument to guarantee the safety of citizens by fighting fraudulent vehicle inspections, is a state-of-the-art inspection system, a leader in automation and protection of legality

Massimo Brunamonti

At last! MCTCNet2, object of many debates and much interest as well as doubts and misgivings, is now well into its implementation phase. Those who have supported it over the years, first of all the Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport, which strongly supported it from the very start, followed by all those who have worked at the project, can now claim victory and contradict with facts all the doomsayers who presaged the project’s abortion or failure.

This has not been the case; at the end of 2014, the PC Booking software installations began. According to estimates by ALPI Consortium, by late April about 67% of the more than 8,000 inspection centers in Italy were already updated. As evidence of its determination, the Ministry of Transport issued a newsletter dated May 22, forbidding any hesitation and indicating June 15, 2015 as the last possible date to install the PC Booking software in MCTCNet2 version; thereafter all the previous version’s web services will be suspended, thus making all those inspection centres that have not been updated inoperative. The upgrading of the equipment, on the other hand,  started on the 1st of January and will continue until December 31, 2015; this operation, as we know, must be performed at the same time as the periodic inspection of the testing equipment, and, by estimating the number plate recognition cameras installed, we can safely assume that by April 2015, approximately 20% of all inspection centres will have already performed the mandatory upgrading of MCTCNet2 equipment.

 

To understand this development, it is worth mentioning that MCTCNet2, launched as an instrument to guarantee the safety of citizens by fighting  fraudulent vehicle inspections, is a state-of-the-art inspection system, a leader in automation and protection of legality. The innovative idea behind the development of the MCTCnet2 protocol is the opportunity to confirm the presence of the vehicle at the station during the inspection by checking that the vehicle’s number plate corresponds with what has been inserted during acceptance. It may seem amazing but until now this was not so obvious. Unfortunately, the record is full of cases in which inspections were carried out "on paper", not to mention extreme cases such as the technical manager of an inspection center who was found to be deceased prior to the date of the inspection!

Operationally, the MCTCNet2 protocol, excluding the number plate recognition camera, adds nothing new to the required tests, nor does it change the inspection procedures at all. So where is the news? Today, all the results produced by the various parts of the inspection station, are automatically recorded;  if the inspection center’s manager, who has the responsibility to issue the final result, passes an inspection against a negative instrumental result, he will have to provide a detailed explanation for the decision taken. A further aspect to be considered is the significant appreciation of the new protocol by a number of inspection center specialists, clearly shown during the various meetings held on this subject. The full test will not exceed the 20-25 minutes expected on average, also by the previous system, and will guarantee a high degree of impartiality protecting the center’s level of responsibility. Moreover, this has already had a positive effect on the vehicle repair market, with an increased demand for maintenance and replacement of defective parts that could compromise inspection test results; a fact that has immediately benefitted motorists as they drive better maintained and safer cars.

The guiding principles behind the new MCTCNet2 protocol proved very wise indeed, if not even prophetic at european level. The European commission, in its Directive 2014/45, in fact, established that every member state must set up a vehicle registration and inspection IT platform allowing an exchange of data, aimed at making vehicle inspection mutually recognized and accepted between member states. Well, with the MCTCNet2 protocol, Italy is the first country in Europe and perhaps in the world to already have such a system. It must be said that in 2007, when the groundwork was laid for the MCTCNet2, nobody could have imagined that seven years later Europe as a whole would have gone in that same direction. Luck? Chance? Perhaps this time we must speak of foresight.

During the 2015 edition of Autopromotec, the Directorate General of the State Authority for motor vehicles unveiled a complete and fully operational inspection line compliant to MCTCNet2, sponsored by AICA (Italian Association of Garage Equipment Manufacturers) assembled with tools and equipment supplied by various Italian manufacturers. A practical demonstration of the new inspection procedures was performed before a number of authorities from other European countries as well as Latvia, Poland, Hungary, The Netherlands, Malta and Japan, whose delegates were highly impressed by the new system and appreciated the high level of innovation of this new solution.

 

The conclusion of the matter may seem trivial, yet in the light of what has happened and how many obstacles had to be overcome, it might be opportune to restate it. Timing and rates remain unchanged, more inspection centers, a greater business volume for the entire sector and greater safety on the roads. What more could we hope for!

We should also remember that vehicle inspections have always had a technological connotation, made up of good ideas rather than models to follow, and the fact that Italy has beaten everyone to the line is a source of great pride and a stimulus toward innovation. 

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