Abu Dhabi: The UAE standards authority will ban import, insurance and registration of used but grossly damaged vehicles from May 1, a senior official said on Tuesday.

Abdullah Al Maeeni, director-general of the Emirates Authority for Standardisation and Metrology (ESMA), told Gulf News the ban will cover burnt out, water-damaged, rebuilt and non-repairable cars as well as vehicles with major manufacturing defects.

“Part of our mission is to make importers stop importing and manufacturers stop rebuilding of these salvage-title vehicles and passing them on to unsuspecting drivers,” Al Maeeni said.

Al Maeeni explained a salvage title is potentially a red flag and rebuilt cars are cars that have been, through accident or other means, totalled and repaired or rebuilt from the ground up.

In most cases, rebuilt cars comprise many vital parts, both mechanical and non-mechanical body parts, that have been salvaged from other vehicles. After it has been totalled, the vehicle is given a salvage title. When it is restored, it is given a rebuilt title.

Insurance companies declare a vehicle a total loss when the cost of a car’s repair exceeds its value. The salvage title is then issued by the motor vehicle agency once the car is repaired.

Al Maeeni said from May 1, importers must make sure the vehicles are free from any such damage or defect, declare vehicles meant for re-export and those imported for dismantling for parts.

Al Maeeni said the UAE imports some 300,000 used vehicles annually, mainly from the US, Japan and Germany.

He said importers are given a grace period until April 30 to adjust their legal status and comply with the new rules.

When a vehicle has been in an accident, flooded, drowned or burnt out and the total damage exceeds a certain percentage of the value of the car (ranging from 75 per cent to 90 per cent), the insurance company will decide that it is not economically feasible to repair it and declares it a “total loss”. The motor vehicle agency will then issue a “salvage certificate” to the car. This means that the car cannot be driven, sold or registered in its current condition.

“ESMA has access to databases of all used car exporting countries to keep track of these vehicle and prevent them from reaching our market.

“Draft laws for conformity of spare parts and classification of auto workshops across the UAE have been submitted to the Cabinet for approval,” Al Maeeni said.

Al Maeeni said ESMA, traffic departments and insurance companies across the UAE are also cooperating to prevent totalled or salvage cars after an accident in the UAE from being sold in the market.

Al Maeeni added the prime goal of this is to make sure that people face no risks when driving these vehicles.

All cars sold in the UAE and Gulf countries need to meet the requirements set by the GCC Standardisation Organisation. Vehicles authorised by ESMA currently have the Gulf Conformity Mark, which testifies compliance with GCC-wide safety and health regulations.

The purpose of the GCC regulation is to ensure a high level of protection for consumers and to establish a legislative framework for any product placed on the market, supplied, made available or intended for consumers, or likely to be used by consumers under reasonably foreseeable conditions even if not intended for them, and also to ensure the safety of local or imported products placed on internal markets of the member states.

Al Maeeni also said ESMA is implementing an integrated strategy to improve specifications and quality of national and imported children’s products to protect children and support national economy through compliance with the UAE, Gulf and international certified safety standards and requirements.