No doubt you’ve heard about a recent white paper calling for vehicle MOTs to be scrapped and the backlash from the automotive industry in reaction to this. It’s certainly a very bold recommendation from the Adam Smith Institute, who claim that motorists waste £250M a year on ‘rip-off’ MOT tests and unnecessary repairs, but what are the reasons behind it? We’re discussing both sides of the story and asking you for your opinions too. Tell us what you think in the comments or get in touch via social media.
Why scrap it?
Changes to the old MOT test came into force earlier in the year, altering many things including doing away with the old ‘advisories’ system, and scrapping the requirement for vehicles over 40 years old to have an MOT (see our blog on these changes). So, if the test has just been updated, why are there recommendations for it to be abolished completely? Let’s look at some of the reasoning from the white paper:
One of the key arguments focuses on how accidents these days tend not to be as a result of mechanical faults. The report states: “Over 65% of accidents in the United Kingdom are due to driver-specific behaviours, such as driving with excessive speed, driving under the influence of alcohol, or forgoing the use of a seat belt while travelling—none of which an annual MOT test can prevent.”
Another argument is how much safer today’s vehicles are than those from the 1950s when the test was first introduced. The report suggests “As vehicle technology improves to make cars safer to drive, Government policy should bring itself into the 21st century by striving to make drivers—not vehicles—safer and more reliable.”
A step too far?
While we can’t disagree that vehicles are certainly safer than ever and that focusing on safer driving would be a positive thing, does that really mean we should scrap the MOT altogether? Is this a step too far? There has been harsh criticism from industry bodies such as the AA, RAC, the National Franchised Dealers Association (NFDA) and the Independent Garage Association (IGA) – with many of their claims making a great deal of sense.
Why we need MOTs
There are numerous arguments to keep the test, ranging from the number of new vehicles failing their first MOT test, to the way in which small unchecked faults could escalate into something dangerous. However, one point frequently cited is how motorists tend to use the MOT as an annual reminder to carry out basic safety checks on their car. Without the test, would the general public forget about checking tyres, headlights, oil and other measures completely? There certainly is evidence to suggest drivers do put off some important vehicle checks until their MOT is due. For example, Tyresafe, in partnership with Highways England, found that millions of motorists only replace tyres when required to do so in order to pass the MOT.
So, without an official annual check-up, it’s possible issues like worn tyres and poorly adjusted headlights may be left and could go on to cause bigger road safety problems.
Tell us what you think
There’s a lot to think about on this issue – what are your views? As always you can get in touch via social media to tell us what you think.