MOT should be scrapped according to UK Institute

22 August 2018

22 August 2018

A report by a UK think tank suggests that the annual roadworthiness test, the MOT, should be scrapped as it is outdated and not relevant to today’s safer vehicles.

The Adam Smith Institute believes that the opportunity to reform the test has been missed, and therefore drivers should not be subject to the cost of ensuring their vehicle is safe every 12 months. It is calling on the UK Government to consider scrapping the procedure.

‘As vehicle technology increases, annual safety inspections are rendered more and more useless,’ states the report. ‘While the MOT has remained essentially unchanged for half a century, improvements in vehicle safety technology mean traffic fatalities have dropped to just 57% of what they were a decade ago.’

Additionally, the report states that mechanical failure accounts for just 2% of accidents in the UK, the same rate as other regions that do not have a periodic test. The institute says that a recent study in the US has shown that discontinuing these inspections has no effect on either the rate or severity of accidents due to mechanical failure.

Discussing the recent consultation, which resulted in the abandoning of a plan to move to a 4-1-1 system, the report says: ‘The proposal was rejected in part because public consultation suggested that the safety risk outweighed [any] potential saving.  Numerous groups spoke out against the proposed change and the supposed safety risk it would entail; however, each of the proposal’s opponents relied entirely on conjecture and extrapolation to justify these claims.’

Newer vehicles are equipped with the latest improvements in safety technology, leading to the distance between mechanical and driver-related accidents growing further apart. These systems cover every aspect of the modern car, from higher-strength steel in construction, through to electronic stabilisation and emergency braking designed to prevent accidents.

However, these issues were raised in the consultation published by the UK Government. The public and automotive sector highlighted that such systems need to be checked to ensure they are working, and vehicles need to be properly maintained to be safe on the UK roads.

The institute’s findings have been condemned by leading figures in the automotive industry. Speaking on Twitter, AA President Edmund King said: ‘What absolute rubbish. In all our polls drivers actually appreciate the importance of the MOT. Going by a number of cars I saw tonight with lights out we need MOTs.’