The Technischer Überwachungsverein
(literally "society for technical monitoring") is not a single organization, but a common term for any of a number of associations and companies licensed by the government of Germany
to perform certain government-mandated safety checkup
s. While the biannual roadworthiness
test for motorized vehicles is their biggest job, it is not the only one: carnival rides
, production and construction machinery and basically all potentially dangerous technical equipment must be TÜV-approved and checked periodically. driving license
tests are also performed by TÜV experts.
The TÜV system is quite old and can be traced back to 1866 when a group of businessmen in Mannheim who owned steam boilers formed a society to have the safe and economical operation of their machines ensured by professional experts. By 1900, these societies had be founded all over Germany and were charged with the monitoring of all not government-owned steam boilers. In 1906 they started monitoring cars, and in 1951 the periodical TÜV checkup became mandatory. Due to growing evnrionmental concerns, a similar biannual checkup focussing on pollution was added.
This system has been so successful at preventing accidents due to creeping technical defects that similar ones have been installed in most other EU countries.