UK road deaths could increase with car MOT testing plans

By Posted 22 Aug 2011, 07:47

Currently in the UK cars get a yearly inspection to check they are roadworthy after they reach the age of three years old. The MOT test checks the brakes, steering, and tyres amongst other things each year to make sure the vehicle is safe for the road. Without passing the MOT car owners can’t purchase road tax and have valid insurance to drive on the road. This could be about to change and UK road deaths could increase with car MOT testing plans which are under review by the British Government.

According to The Independent, the Government is thinking of relaxing the rules of MOT testing despite warnings any such moves could lead to an extra fifty road deaths each year. A study commissioned by the Government found that reducing the frequency of MOT test were “likely to have adverse road safety consequences“, especially for older cars.

The Transport Research Laboratory estimates that defects on cars contribute to around three percent of road accidents each year. Motoring groups estimate that allowing cars to have tests every two years instead of yearly will add around fifty five deaths each year. The Department for Transport has said that these findings have not deterred ministers pushing ahead with their plans.

The Government is thinking of changing the system with a car having its first MOT once it hits the age of four years old, and then only every two years until it reaches the age of ten before reverting to every year again. These changes are being proposed to help the financial burden on motorists, but have been condemned by garages who are worried about seeing their income halved.

Motoring groups are more concerned about the safety issues with un-roadworthy vehicles going unchecked on the roads. Andrew Howard of the Automobile Association is concerned and stated the fact a car can pass an MOT but then develop a fault quickly, and not being found for another two years was “a big risk”.

Currently over 23 million vehicles in the country need an annual MOT test with a failure rate of at least 35 percent. This means that 8.5 million cars have defects which make them un-roadworthy. This is not the first time that a British Government has thought about changing the MOT testing system, as three years ago the last Prime Minister Gordon Brown abandoned plans to relax the system after changes were found to increase injuries and deaths.

Many motorists only take their vehicle into a garage when it’s time for an MOT check, and it is only then their vehicle gets any sort of safety check. There is also the fact problems that are found at this time can be rectified early and save money in the long run. British motorists would probably much prefer the financial burden eased by the duty at the fuel pump lowered.

Do you agree with the new MOT proposals?

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