Auto owners half guilty


Technical inspectors union head hopes all dishonest workers have been caught with none remaining in hiding. He adds, though, that such car owners are also to blame who expect to pass the roadworthiness test some easier way. 

«Over the years, vehicle owners have assumed they ought to pass inspection easier,» said technical inspectors union chairman Andres Soots. «Surely, lots of test spots have encountered the attitude that a client comes and says aha! you will not let me pass and drives someplace else.»

Since end of October, central criminal police staff has raided the inspection facilities and filed bribe suspicions to 11 individuals in four spots. Regrettably, our roads may feature a hundred or so vehicles which are not roadworthy, allowed into the traffic for €10–30.

Meanwhile, Mr Soots says it would be unjust to think all inspectors accept bribes.

«Estonia has 106 inspection spots and close to 350 inspectors performing over 500,000 inspections a year. We are honestly working to have inspected and safe vehicles in our traffic,» said Mr Soots.

«Let us not forget that as the decision is taken, there are only the client and the inspector present. If the inspector wants to cheat someone, he has the option no matter the system. Sadly, the dishonest come in any walk of life,» he said.

The way Mr Soots sees it, the client expecting to be obliged shares part of the blame and an inspector may not realise he is doing something wrong. «The reasons may be moments of weakness, wanting to be nice. I would not say it is always about money. Sometimes people think they need to keep the relationships,» suggested Mr Soots.

But he did underline the responsibility of owners and how important is it to have one’s vehicle in order. «I believe that these recent incidents have served to teach the inspectors a lesson but the clients need to learn as well. There are always the two parties,» he noted.

As admitted by Mr Soots, what surprised him the most with the bribes scandal was its scale – that several individuals accepted bribes at one inspection facility.

He hopes none remains on payroll who is dishonest. «These 11 cases were a very strong message. Importantly, inspectors and the enterprises will have to draw their conclusions,» he explained.

To ensure the conclusions are drawn, the union has entered negotiations with inspection facilities in order to make administration more transparent and prevent situations conducive to bribery. Also, they have been in cooperation with central criminal police.

«This seems to be insufficient and we are now thinking how to improve it further,» said Mr Soots.