Drivers are wasting £250million a year on ‘rip-off’ checks and “unnecessary repairs”, according to a leading think tank.
The Adam Smith Institute has urged ministers to ditch the MoT test, describing it as ‘outdated’ and a “classic case of poor policy’.
It wants the Government to “bring itself into the 21st century and focus on driver error”, which is the biggest cause of road accidents.
‘No evidence tests improve safety’
Should the annual MoT no longer be compulsory, drivers would save nearly £180 on average, according to the Adam Smith Institute.
The idea is to improve road safety by making mechanical failures less likely – but the think tank claims it actually makes little difference.
Just two per cent of accidents are caused by mechanical problems in the UK.
The report’s author, Alex Hoagland, said: “There’s no evidence that vehicle safety inspections improve vehicle safety.”
As well as scrapping the MOT completely, the report suggested an another option would be to reduce it to once every three years, or applying it only to vehicles which are at least five years old.
It also urged ministers to put more resources into developing driverless cars, which could save lives by eliminating driver error.
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.”
‘A dangerous move’
But British motoring association The AA argues that scrapping the MoT test would be a “dangerous” move, leading to more road deaths and serious injuries while the RAC also slammed the proposal.
RAC roads policy spokesman Nicholas Lyes said: “Scrapping the MOT would be a huge backward step and a recipe for disaster. 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.”