Re: Weasels vs. transparancy / traffic cameras (& taxes)

From: Charlie Stross (
Date: Thu May 25 2000 - 02:59:30 MDT

On Wed, May 24, 2000 at 09:32:29AM -0400, Michael S. Lorrey wrote:
> Oh, clear operational problems are understood, I was under the impression they
> dinged people for many merely cosmetic reasons. Surface rust has nothing to do with
> operational performance, at least with cars here in the US, because salt is used so
> much in the winter on the roads, unless your car is plastic you will have a tough
> time not getting any rust after just a couple years.

That's a hard call. I've had cars that needed extensive fix-ups due to
rust before they'd pass the test. On the other hand, that was structural
stuff -- the underbody had become corroded and was likely to go if it
wasn't fixed. In general, you can get away with cosmetic rust -- they
just don't like cars that they think will break up in event of an accident
(and remember, they have to make a judgement call on how far the rusting
will progress in another 12 months, with a damp winter somewhere in it).

Where this gets murky is the fact that most garages that carry out MoT
testing are also repair shops. So they've got a conflict of interest; if
they're tough on the motorist, they may pick up extra business. Some
years ago this (and the passing of bribes) became enough of a problem that
the Ministry sent out some undercover inspectors to make random checks, and
started a hotline for reporting suspected abuse of the system -- at which
point it began working a bit better. Another sensible move it to tell
the test centre people in advance that any work on your vehicle required to
bring it up to spec will be carried out elsewhere.

-- Charlie

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