MOT tests are outdated and should be scrapped, according to a think tank.
A report from the Adam Smith Institute has highlighted evidence from the US that suggests discontinuing MOTs would have no effect on the rate or severity of accidents caused by mechanical failure, which account for just two per cent of accidents on both sides of the Atlantic.
It suggests that the government would have more success in improving road safety by focusing on driver error, as issues such as speeding, drink/drug-driving and not using a seatbelt account for nearly two-thirds of accidents in the UK.
The paper goes on to say that the average driver is charged almost £150 in unneeded repair costs.
Consequently, doing away with MOTs would save Brits an estimated £250 million a year.
How about reducing the frequency of MOT tests?
The Adam Smith Institute says that at the very least, the age at which cars must be tested should be increased and the frequency of inspections reduced to once every two years.
In the US, annual safety inspections are not required in most states.
Alex Hoagland, author of the report, believes that modern cars are safer and smarter due to tech like lane keeping assist and autonomous emergency braking.
He added that when 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,” he reckoned.
Time to test the MOT test?
Sam Dumitriu, head of research at the Adam Smith Institute, says it is time that MOT tests were put to the test themselves.
“New evidence from the US found that scrapping similar mandatory vehicle safety inspections had no impact on crash rates,” he commented.
“Evidence, not gut feeling, should guide policy.”
‘Huge backward step’
Motoring authorities have slammed the idea, with the RAC slating it as ‘a recipe for disaster’.
“Scrapping the MOT would be a huge backward step,” said the organisation’s head of roads policy Nicholas Lyes.
“Drivers would no longer have to do anything routinely to check their vehicles are safe, which could lead to huge numbers of vehicles being driven that pose a danger to all road users.
“More than a third of all cars and vans taken in for an MOT each year initially fail, so clearly the test is picking up some problems that need addressing that might otherwise make a vehicle unsafe.”
Heather Stark, brand manager at The Fuelcard People, added: “This report makes some interesting suggestions, but it’s highly unlikely that the government would seriously consider scrapping the MOT any time soon.”