If you take a flight on a commercial airline you may get a request to fill out a survey. The flight was on time, the attendants were efficient and polite, the pilot had the right announcements delivered in a friendly manner and the plane seemed to fly very well. That deserves 10s all around and you send in the form and get on with your day
It would never occur to you that Transport Canada would issue licenses using only your consumer survey to verify aircraft safety. After all what do you know about engines, electronics, duty cycles and maintenance schedules? All you know is you were treated well and on that flight got to where you were going. You assume, correctly, that there are technical people in the background who are doing the technical inspections and verifications.
The car you drive is getting to be as complicated as that plane and you would assume that there is a solid level of technical verification going on in the background of the repair process. Unfortunately in this case you are wrong.
In Canada there are no government standards for vehicle collision repair. In BC there is no requirement for the technicians working on your car to be licensed in any way. The only organizations that check anything are the insurance companies and their processes do not extend to safe and complete repairs. In fact, under the current system, repair shops doing truly safe and complete repairs are at a disadvantage
The relationship of the repairers and insurers is based on a variety of factors called KPIs or Key Performance Indicators. The three main KPIs are Severity (how much did it cost), Cycle Time (how long did it take) and Customer Satisfaction. Low cost, fast and a customer with no complaints is the best possible outcome. Safety is not measured and a car repaired to be in truly safe, Next Accident Ready, condition will score lower because it will cost somewhat more and take some time longer. The issue is the same in America and this video from 2016 gives a real example.
What is the answer?
Repairs will not get less complex and the answer will not be for consumers to become educated about the technical aspects of vehicle repair. The industry will have to mature to the point where the ability to perform safe repairs on modern vehicles becomes the minimum entry point for participants. This will not happen overnight.
At Tsawwassen Collision we have committed to a culture of safe repairs and are doing a lot of things that others are not doing, and that we are not being asked to do. We are not waiting to be told to do the right repairs, we are doing them now