Limited Report Wrongly ‘Talked-up’

Limited report wrongly ‘talked up’ by Government – to justify less frequent MOTs.

Last year, in a move to gain motorists’ popularity, the Government planned a campaign to justify less frequent MOT Testing. As part of that they commissioned a very low budget piece of research from the Transport Research Laboratory (TRL) to find the ‘latest information’ about the link between defective vehicles and road deaths and injuries. They then ‘tagged on’ a request to project death and injury estimates from reduced frequency MOT Testing. This was probably to find something, anything, to challenge the Department for Transport’s own projections in 2008 which suggested that over 400 more people would die annually should MOT Testing become two yearly instead of annually as it is now.

TRL’s work duly indicated that far fewer people would, in fact, die from reduced MOT Testing. However, when interviewed by MOT Testing editor Jim Punter, the report’s lead author Richard Cuerden conceded that due to the limitations as what could be done with the low budget available, this methodology was limited and, as he said, “most likely underestimates the accident outcomes”.

He also emphasised that his report consistently predicted that less frequent MOTs would result in more road deaths and injuries – and a huge increase in MOT failure rates. Since then the Government, in answers to Parliamentary Questions, in media statements and more recently in the impact assessment as to the effect of ending MOT Testing of Historic Vehicles, have only referred to the TRL report, failing to even mention their own DfT report from 2008, which predicted seriously greater fatalities and injuries from reduced MOT Testing frequency. This is grossly irresponsible, and a grotesque distortion of the likely dangers attendant on any dilution of MOT Testing.


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