Vesa - maintaining industry standards

November 2004 News

The Vehicle Security Association of South Africa (Vesa) is a non-profit organisation that sets certain standards and lays down guidelines for the manufacture and installation of anti-theft devices for vehicles. This has been necessitated by the tremendous amount of security systems available for vehicles today, fitted by fitment centres that have opened countrywide. By setting stringent standards for the manufacture of products and the fitment thereof, the consumer and the insurance companies are assured that vehicles are optimally protected when such Vesa-approved products are fitted by a Vesa Member.

Vesa's mission is to set, maintain and promote industry standards, which results in sustained loss reduction; fair and just practice; and an awareness of Vesa and its members.

There is still a lot of confusion in the market regarding the meaning of 'Vesa Approval' and Vesa's Client Relations Department has undertaken a countrywide Vesa Awareness Project. Confusion has been created by companies that are not Vesa members advertising that they can install Vesa Approved products. Only Vesa Members are authorised to issue Vesa Certificates, which are the only legal proof of compliance to the insurance companies. The South African Insurance Association (SAIA) and its members have Vesa Approval as a requirement in their policies. When a contract is entered into with an insurance company or underwriter, the onus is on the insured person to prove compliance.

No matter how good any company may think it is, it must stand up to the Vesa test before Vesa will recommend it to motor owners or insurers.

What is Vesa approved?

Three criteria are taken into consideration for the approval process:

* A product that is approved by the Accreditation Bureau for Security & Safety (ABS).

* An installation by a member of Vesa in accordance with the latest specifications.

* A certificate prescribed and issued by Vesa for the current year.

The Vesa Standards have been set in conjunction with the industry for the industry.

Vesa Approval categories

ABS approved equipment:

Alarms/immobilisers:

* 3 Circuit cut including a fuel supply.

* Auto arming.

* Tamperproof security housing.

* Secure installations and protocols.

* Level 3A - High Security Coded Immobiliser (jack plugs).

* (Fixed code remotes phased out as from March 2001).

* Level 4 - Randomly transmitted codes.

A - High Security Encrypted Immobiliser.

B - High Security Encrypted Immobiliser with perimeter alarm.

C - High Security Encrypted Immobiliser with perimeter alarm and interior alarm.

All Level 2 systems were made dormant as from December 1995 - Installations nor inspections are no longer acceptable.

Gearlocks: concealed/pin locks and external/top locks

* Class A - Auto-Arming Pinlocks. Locks automatically after 60 seconds.

* Class B - Manual Arming. Special fitment kit for high risk vehicles. Registered key blanks.

* Class C - Standard Gearlock - Manual Arming. Standard Key. Generic Bracket.

Stolen vehicle recovery (SVR)

Monitored recovery performance. Dedicated for vehicle theft.

Fleet management (FM)

Route, driver, vehicle and load monitoring. Reporting of recovery statistics not mandatory. Optional recovery capability.

Additional categories

* Electronic Upgrade

Category A - driver authentication.

Category B - delayed immobilisation.

Vehicle identification

* Trend of the future.

* Highly supported by the South African Police Services and Business Against Crime.

* In pilot projects, have yielded substantial benefits.

Typical fleet management systems

1. Purpose is to manage critical vehicle trip data such as speed, route, direction, position, driver behaviour, engine functions, cargo etc. Recovery of the vehicle is an agreed optional service.

2. Regular and ongoing data transfer between vehicle unit and monitoring unit.

3. Regular and ongoing interaction between control room and client with regard to training, system operation and status reports.

4. Generally higher installation costs, monthly charges and unit costs.

5. Generally not viable on low cost vehicles.

6. Generally used in commercial communication networks such as GSM, radio trunking and other RF communications.

7. Operation can be successful on regional basis.

8. Relatively high operational investment required.

9. Viable with low number of clients.

10. Usually larger and more complex vehicle unit - multiwired, difficult to conceal, advanced installation skills required.

11. Driver eventually becomes aware of system fitted.

12. Trip/event/position reports available continuously (at any time).

13. Generally uses GPS for positioning.

Typical stolen vehicle recovery systems

1. Prime function is recovery of stolen vehicles.

2. Vehicle unit dormant/passive unless activated or vehicle violation detected.

3. Interaction with client limited to report of theft of vehicle; testing or malfunction

4. Generally lower installation costs, monthly charges and unit costs.

5. Generally viable on vehicles of all price classes.

6. Ideal to use privately owned communication network covering different focus areas.

7. National operation and recovery imperative.

8. Infrastructure requires substantial capital investment.

9. Large number of clients required to break even.

10. Smaller vehicle unit, fewer wires, more covert installation possible.

11. Driver not necessarily aware of installation.

12. Position and status report available once activated.

13. Preferable to use terrestrial system for location purpose.

Those who perform in line with the specification and have a track record that is suitable will be approved. Those who are not accredited by Vesa for stolen vehicle recovery simply do not comply. Vesa makes its best endeavours to assist consumers with any complaints and queries regarding non-conformance to the Vesa Code of Ethics.

There are presently 535 Vesa members throughout South Africa. These members are authorised to issue Vesa Certificates and are regarded by Vesa as professionals dedicated to maintaining the Vesa Code of Ethics. Vesa members are qualified to advise on the most appropriate security system for your vehicle and are trained to install and maintain security systems according to the association's high standards and latest specifications. For insurance purposes, Vesa members are authorised to conduct vehicle inspections as required by insurance companies.





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