Vehicle History Expert Cartell.ie have called on the Irish Government to introduce legislation for the proper regulation of vehicle write offs.
At present there are approximately 36,000 vehicles written off in Ireland every year. About 12,000 of those are never returned to the roads due to the extent of the damage incurred. However, approximately 24,000 are returned to the fleet every year, and this increases the number of written off vehicles in the Irish fleet.
There are over 200,000 write offs in the Irish fleet at any time, and every year approximately 3,000 are designated as write offs for the second time in their life cycle – some will even be written off three or more times. Cartell estimates that at least 6 deaths occur per annum in vehicles which were previously written off.
This call for proper regulation follows the aftermath of the tragic story of Sadie McGrady, six years of age, who died in her Mother’s Vauxhall Corsa, which was a previously written-off-and-repaired vehicle – unknown to the family. Calls in the UK for tighter regulation of previously written off vehicles, in the wake of the McGrady case, also ring true for the Republic of Ireland where regulations are already far behind their UK equivalents.
Vehicles written off by an insurer and returned to the road (24,000 vehicles per annum) may not be as safe as before the incident. Furthermore, the vehicle may leave occupants particularly vulnerable where expensive repair items such as airbags may not have been refitted, or may not have been refitted correctly. An accident will have deformed the metal via heat and mechanical deformation. In cases where the chassis of the vehicle needs to be re-aligned, the re-alignment process can leave the car structurally vulnerable. Any structural welds can change the properties of metal and may make it more brittle in certain areas. Worse still, these defects may only manifest themselves in a subsequent impact, by which time it is obviously too late for vehicle occupants.