Changes to the MOT test last year has seen a huge spike in the number of cars fail the annual roadworthiness assessment, according to a new study.
A third of vehicles examined in the first 12 months of the changes flunked the MOT test, with one in four failing motors deemed to have ‘dangerous’ defects.
Just over 10million cars failed the MOT test in the year from May 2018. That compares to 7.3million fails during 2017, before the changes were introduced – an increase of 37 per cent.
MOT failure rates on the rise: The introduction of new test measures and defect categories has caused a spike in flunked MOTs, according to DVSA data
The figures were revealed by Green Flag, which submitted a freedom of information request to the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) regarding MOT test results for the first 12 months of the new test.
Changes were introduced on 20 May 2018, with the most significant updated being stricter measures for exhaust emissions, checks of diesel particulate filters and the introduction of a three-tier defect categorisation – minor, major and dangerous.
While vehicles can pass with minor defects, a single major or dangerous fault results in an automatic test fail.
Defects regarded as ‘dangerous’ also need to be resolved before the car can be used again on the road and motorists caught using a vehicle with an existing dangerous fault can be fined £2,500 for using a motor that’s deemed not road legal.
Of the 30,488,960 MOT tests taken in England, Scotland and Wales, 10,001,293 (33 per cent) failed.
Of these flunked tests, 2,817,967 (nine per cent) were due to dangerous defect and 9,095,989 (44 per cent) were as a result of major faults.
New checks as part of the MOT from May 2018
Stricter rules for diesel car emissions
A vehicle will get a major fault if the MOT tester:
• can see smoke of any colour coming from the exhaust
• finds evidence that the DPF has been tampered with
Other new checks include:
• if tyres are obviously underinflated
• if the brake fluid has been contaminated
• for fluid leaks posing an environmental risk
• brake pad warning lights and if brake pads or discs are missing
• reversing lights on vehicles first used from 1 September 2009
• headlight washers on vehicles first used from 1 September 2009 (if they have them)
• daytime running lights on vehicles first used from 1 March 2018 (most of these vehicles will have their first MOT in 2021 when they’re 3 years old)
The data also showed that motorbikes were more likely to pass the updated test than cars, with 83 per cent of motorcycles sailing through their MOT.
Experts have previously accounted the rise in MOT test fails to the fact that drivers are reluctant to buy new models and are keeping hold of their older vehicles that are more susceptible to faults.
Green Flag also analysed DVSA stats to reveal the locations where failure rates were highest.
On average the South West had the highest percentage of flunked tests, at 38 per cent).
This was followed by Wales (35 per cent), Scotland (35 per cent) and both the East Midlands and North East (33 per cent).
The highest proportion of MOT rest passes was in Greater London (71 per cent), followed by the East of England (69 per cent), the West Midlands (68 per cent) and the North West (68 per cent).
Mark Newbery at Green Flag commented: ‘Drivers should be aware of the risks of driving a faulty car.
‘It not only endangers other motorists, but drivers and their passengers alike.
‘Problems with vehicles will only worsen if not seen to, costing more money in the long run.
‘We are urging drivers to thoroughly check their cars and repair any problems immediately, to give them the best chance of passing the new MOT tests.’
|HIGHEST FAILURE RATES|
|LOWEST FAILURE RATES|
|East of England||69%|
Don’t be held to ransom by garages because of dangerous defects
The updated guidelines state that cars deemed to have a dangerous defect should not be driven at all until the problem has been fixed – meaning owners can be made to feel that they have to fork out for the cost of repairs at the garage conducting the MOT.
However, this is not the case and owners could instead ask other garages to quote for the work and potentially collect their car.
Certified testing locations have been accused of holding drivers to ransom over the necessary repairs since May.
MotrEasy warned last year that it had received reports of car owners being held to ransom by test centres and garages because their vehicles had been deemed to have a dangerous defect
Just two weeks after the rule changes were introduced, car repairs site MotorEasy said it has received reports from drivers that they’d been trapped into getting repairs done at garages that had carried out the test.
In many cases, owners said they had been charged over the odds by mechanics knowing the new rules state that a vehicle shouldn’t be driven again until the dangerous fault has been resolved.
According to the DVSA website, a dangerous defect ‘has a direct and immediate risk to road safety or has a serious impact on the environment, and the vehicle cannot be driven again until the defect has been repaired’.
Examples of these dangerous defects include leaking hydraulic fluid, incorrectly mounted brake pads and worn wheels.
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