Drivers are wasting £250 million a year on MOT tests and unnecessary repairs and it is time to make a u-turn over the compulsory testing of vehicles.
That’s the view of The Adam Smith Institute which is urging ministers to shelve the “outdated” MOT.
‘Drop MoT and focus on driver error’
It wants the Government to focus instead on driver error, which is by far the main cause of accidents.
The annual test was introduced in 1960 to reduce the number of old, unsafe vehicles on the road.
But the think-tank argues cars are now safer and more reliable. It estimates motorists were paying more than £250 million a year on MOT test fees and unnecessary repairs.
The MOT costs up to £54.85 for cars and £29.65 for motorbikes. Added to this, the average driver will pay £143 in repairs to pass the test.
2% of accidents caused by mechanical failures
The report said 2% of accidents are caused by mechanical failures, with two-thirds caused by driver errors, like speeding and drink driving.
The report’s author, Alex Hoagland, said: ‘The UK has required MOT testing for decades in order to prevent crashes and fatalities from unreliable vehicles.
‘Nowadays, vehicles are safer than ever, leading some governments to re-inspect these programmes.
“When these safety inspections were done away with in some US states, accident rates did not change.
“There’s no evidence that vehicle safety inspections improve vehicle safety.”
It added that improvements in the safety of cars had helped reduce the number of deaths on Britain’s roads by 44 per cent in ten years – from 3,172 in 2006 to 1,792 in 2016.
Adrian Flux cautious about scrapping MOT
Gerry Bucke, General Manager of the Adrian Influx insurance group, remains cautious about the recommendations of The Adam Smith Institute. He feels there should be safeguards in place to ensure a vehicle’s roadworthiness.
“If you have your car serviced every year you should be able to drop the MOT, if you don’t get it serviced the MOT should still apply.”
He also questioned the statistics used in the Adam Smith report. “How many driver error accidents happened due to tyres being below the legal limit? The car in front having a brake light not working? I imagine it would be a lot more than the 2% quoted by The Adam Smith Institute.
“The 2% comprises the serious accidents that occur after which the car has been inspected by police. No one inspects a car after minor bumps when no one is injured. Nonetheless these accidents costs hundreds of thousands of pounds each year to repair.”
Accident prevention group defends annual MOT test
Kevin Clinton, head of road safety at the accident prevention group RoSPA, spoke in defence of the MOT.
He said: “Testing helps to minimise the number of unroadworthy vehicles on the road, as it ensures motorists are getting their vehicles checked on a regular basis.
“Tens of thousands of vehicles fail their first MOT test due to faults such as tyre defects, brake failures, steering defects, or problems with the driver’s view of the road or with their seatbelt and restraint systems.
“All of these are failures in safety-critical items.”
- Do you think the MOT test has past its sell-by date? Is the annual test an expensive waste of money? Share your views by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org