Drivers across Britain are paying hundreds of millions of pounds a year on the ‘unnecessary’ MOT test every year, claims a leading think tank.
The Adam Smith Institute (ASI) is urging MPs to ditch the MOT test after claiming it is ‘outdated.’
According to the report the MOT test generates around £250 million in annual revenue across 20,000 garages throughout Britain.
It claims that the test is ‘outdated’ and has been largely unchanged since the 1950s when cars were much less safe than they were today.
The think tank is also calling for the Government to “bring itself into the 21st century” and focus on driver error as opposed to vehicle error.
Improvements in vehicle safety technology mean traffic fatalities have dropped to just 57 per cent of what they were a decade ago, stated ASI.
The report also suggests that just two per cent of all accident in the UK are related to mechanical failures, and therefore there should be more focus on other issues.
“Over 65 per cent 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.
“If the MOT is not abolished, it should at least be overhauled substantially to place emphasis on driver-specific behaviours, rather than vehicle-specific ones”
The report suggests that UK motorists could save themselves on average £180 per year.
Calls for MOT test to be scrapped by think tank who deems it as unnecessary
Author of the report, Alex Hoagland, said: “There’s no evidence that vehicle safety inspections improve vehicle safety.”
The report concludes that “increased focus on distracted and unsafe driving practices will surely be more effective at reducing fatalities than any vehicular inspection program.”
Sam Dumitriu of the Adam Smith Institute added: “MoT tests are meant to prevent crashes and save lives, but they’ve never been put to the test themselves.”
However, a spokesperson for the RAC argued that scrapping the MOT would be a ‘recipe for disaster.’
“Scrapping the MOT would be a huge backward step and a recipe for disaster,” he said.
“It would mean 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.
“We can’t imagine this would have any support from the UK public.
“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.
“And while road accidents caused by mechanical failures might be low, how much of this is as a result of the MOT test existing?
“We accept the MOT test isn’t perfect, but we’re far better to have it than not. In fact, we would like to see it reviewed more regularly and believe there is an argument to base it not just on vehicle age, but also on the number of miles it has been driven.
“The Government will also have no appetite for looking at the MOT again so soon after making changes to it this year, which included widening its scope in some areas.”
The reprot suggests that mechanical faults are responsible for just two per cent of accidents
Responding to a call from the Adam Smith Institute for the MoT to be scrapped, GEM road safety officer Neil Worth said: “Removing the requirement for drivers to ensure their vehicles are checked annually would be a massive backward step for road safety.
“This would lead to a significant rise in vehicles on our roads with all kinds of dangerous defects that would only become apparent after a collision.
“GEM has long campaigned for driver education to lead the way in reducing death and serious injury on the roads, but any approach to road safety has to be joined up. There is no ‘silver bullet’ to eliminate crashes, so the idea of focusing solely on driver error, as proposed by the Adam Smith Institute, is misguided.
“Of course, drivers should not rely on an annual MoT test for maintenance. Regular servicing, even though it is not a legal requirement, is vital for safety – as well as helping to preserve the value of a vehicle as it gets older.”