You’ve probably heard by now of the Department for Transport’s plans to ban tampering, of any kind, to road vehicles. That includes bikes, cars, vans, trucks, everything. Quite a lot of people have been getting pretty upset about it, and for good reason. Now though, in response to a petition signed by over 100,000 people to stop them implementing the new anti-tampering regs, they’ve started back-peddling.
As part of the D of T’s ‘Future of Transport’ review, the proposals were to ban any kind of ‘tampering’ with ‘a system, part or component, of a vehicle intended or adapted to be used on a road’. In short, the government said they wanted us to stop us modifying our bikes with aftermarket parts.
So let’s briefly examine why people are so upset about it. In the original proposal it seemed fairly clear cut; you WILL NOT modify your vehicle in any way. That’s nonsense. What happens when you need new brake pads? Can you only use original parts (that are double the price, if not more)?
And what about the thousands of people that are employed in the aftermarket parts industry? They’d all lose their jobs.
And the notion that any type of modification to a vehicle automatically makes it more dangerous is, frankly, ludicrous. You might decide to fit some better headlights, making it easier for you to see, and be seen. Better brakes, more appropriate tyres, the list goes on.
Obviously there was going to be uproar. Well, I say uproar; there was a lot of angry social media posts, and a bloke called Gareth James set a petition up.
The idea behind the official government petitions is to help us peasants have a say in how our country’s run. Anyone can set one up on the government website, and if you get 10,000 signatures, the government have to give you a response. If you get 100,000 signatures, the issue will be ‘considered for debate in parliament’. Note, that doesn’t mean they will be debated in parliament.
Anyway, Gareth James’ petition about the proposed anti-tampering regs is currently on 109,100 signatures. You can view it and sign it here. That means it will be considered for debate. It also means the government have had to make a response, and they have.
And in all fairness, it’s righted a few wrongs that flawed the original proposal. In the statement from the Department for Transport, they said that their intention was to “target and prevent harmful tampering”, and that they are “not proposing that all modifications be prevented”. Which, if you ask me, is good news.
The general message was summed up in their following sentence, “Our proposals are not intended to hinder activities such as motorsports, restoration, repairs, or legitimate improvements and alterations to vehicles”.
You’ve got issues
I think the issue here is that although the initial proposals were probably well-intended, they were written by people who are obviously a little bit out of touch. Written by people who don’t understand that motoring, or motorcycling, for some people isn’t just about getting from A to B. It’s a passion, and because of that, there is a massive aftermarket industry.
They also don’t realise that most people don’t get a new company car every six months, and that 90% of people with a vehicle outside it’s manufacturers warrantee period wouldn’t maintain or repair it with genuine parts, because they are too bloody expensive.
Unfortunately, it seems as though it’s another example of the people making the rules, and writing the laws, not really living in the real world.
I understand and agree that there has to be some sort of control on vehicle modifications. And as certain vehicles become more automated (and therefore complicated), you can’t have every Tom, Dick and Harry faffing around with their motors on their driveways. But a blanket ban of ‘tampering‘ of any kind is absolutely bonkers, and it would never work.
So if these anti-tampering regs have got you all hot under the collar, I wouldn’t worry about it. They only announced it a few months ago, and they’re already taking backword, so I can’t see it coming to much. Having said that, I have been wrong before.