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One third of MOT failures caused by ‘dangerous faults’

The new MOT rules that came into force last May have seen over one million cars fail the test because they pose an ‘immediate risk to road safety and/or serious impact on the environment’.

A Freedom of Information request by the motoring website, motorway.co.uk, revealed that 1,131,376 cars were deemed unroadworthy due to dangerous defects.On average since May, MOT testers failed almost 32% of cars because of a dangerous fault.

The new MOT system has three categories of defect – dangerous, major or minor.A vehicle will fail if it has a dangerous or major fault. Previously, under the old rules, a vehicle either passed, passed with advisory faults, or failed.

The DVSA website defines a dangerous defect as one which “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 include:

  • Leaking hydraulic fluid – leaks from a brake value such that brake functionality is affected
  • Brake problems – brake disc or drum missing and/or the brake lining or pad is missing or incorrectly mounted
  • Dangerous wheels – a wheel with more than one loose or missing wheel nut, bolt or stud or the wheel is distorted or worn to the extent it is likely to become detached.

A vehicle will be recorded as “no longer road legal” if it fails due to a dangerous fault – and could incur three penalty points, a £2,500 fine or even a driving ban if driven.Cars fails because of a major defect need to be repaired as soon as possible, although the car may be driven if it is still roadworthy and the MOT is valid.

“Looking at this data from the DVSA, we were really surprised by the high number of cars registered to drive on UK roads that are considered ‘dangerous’ – and these are just the vehicles that have been tested since the new rules came into play in May 2018”, said motorway.co.uk’s director Alex Buttle.

“New car sales are currently falling, but the number of licensed cars on the road is remaining comparatively stable at around 38 million. This suggests owners are hanging onto cars for longer – and because of that, the UK’s used car stock will get older year on year unless that trend is reversed. That means more cars requiring frequent safety checks.”