MOT Test Centre

Do MOT Tests Have Any Impact on UK Road Safety?

In what could be described as a challenge to UK government policy, analysts at the Adam Smith Institute are calling on the government to possibly cancel or review the mandatory MOT tests.

The report presented by the Institute puts forward some valid arguments scrapping the annual MOT test, and its impact on the public is worth considering. While the MOT test is in place to make the roads safer for every road user, the study has revealed that they do not have a particular impact on increasing road safety.

Some of the points raised by the study have drawn the attention of the public, and there seems to be a consensus about the need for a review of the MOT test.

Let’s have a look at the statistics: Every car owner in the UK is required to drive their vehicle to a local MOT test centre where the vehicle’s roadworthiness is assessed. The test costs typically cost around £35 per year. Reportedly, about £ 2.5 million is generated by the garage trade from car owners who pay for repairs and minor replacements that are required for a vehicle to pass a test.

The report argues that the roads have not actually been made safer by the test, because only a small percentage of accidents (about 2%) are actually caused by mechanical faults. This means drivers are paying out for the test and associated repairs that have little or no significant value.  It also points out that in many parts of America and other places around the world, drivers are not compelled to carry out a mandatory annual car check. Rather, it is their responsibility to ensure that their cars are working perfectly through repairs being carried out as needed. Could it be the experts in these countries are focusing on more important areas that can actually reduce the dangers of crashes on the road?

There are 23,000 MOT test centres in the UK, and their reports indicate that so many faults are discovered in cars being tested. These issues range from serious matters such as warn tyres and  ineffective brakes, down to the seemingly trivial, such as washer bottle fluid level. However, it is possible that these issues are so common because drivers now rely upon the annual MOT tests to highlight anything that might be dangerous. Alternatively, if drivers took responsibility for the safety of their vehicles they would ensure that vehicle defects were remedied promptly and not wait until the annual test.

As an alternative to MOT tests, the UK government has been encouraged to focus on enlightening drivers about other worthier areas of road safety such as avoiding alcohol, the use of seatbelts, maintaining speed limits and the introduction of the safer autonomous cars. It is time that the government should look beyond the huge revenue generated from these tests and instead focus on other initiatives that can more significantly improve road safety.