MOT decision poses serious safety risk

The British government is taking a ‘serious safety risk’ by allowing millions of motorists to keep their cars on the road until January 2021, without a current MOT.

That is according to comparison service ‘BookMyGarage’, who gathered data from the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA), which shows that almost 10 per cent of cars on the UK’s road today could be officially classified as having ‘dangerous defects’, with tyres and brakes accounting for the majority of faults.

UK Department of Transport figures show that defective tyres were a contributing factor in 17 fatal accidents in 2018, causing a total of 459 accidents in the year. Faulty brakes were to blame for more than 500 accidents and 15 fatalities.

“It was a sensible policy during lockdown, when vehicle use was limited, but the whole point of the MOT is to make sure dangerous vehicles are not on our roads for the sake of the driver, passengers and other road users,” says Karen Rotberg, managing director of BookMyGarage. “The government is taking a serious safety risk now though and we urge motorists to take a common-sense view.”

Testers classify failures as minor, major and dangerous defects, with one in three vehicles failing their MOT every day in normal conditions. BookMyGarage says the average failure rate during 2020 is expected to increase as a result of the exemption.

The five most dangerous defects recorded by more than 65,000 MOT testers across the UK between July and September 2019 were tyres, which made up 58.1 per cent of all dangerous defects recorded, followed by brakes (29.3%), suspension (5.5%), chassis (2.4%) and lights (2.0%).

Top five most common dangerous defects

BookMyGarage, which has managed more than 2.7 million MOTs across its UK network of 9,000 franchised and independent garages, is strongly advising motorists not to risk ‘maxing out’ on the August 1 exemption if they can, and get their vehicles tested as soon as possible.

The DVSA recently announced that it is ending the exemption on August 1, which means millions could still be driving without a valid certificate until end of January 2021.

Here in Ireland, all NCT centres are set to re-open by mid-July.