The ‘Danger’ Box – MOT Testing and Road Safety

“…dangerous to drive…”

Whenever an MOT Tester decides a vehicle should fail the MOT Test, there is an option to declare that one or more of the defects discovered render the vehicle ‘dangerous to drive…’. This is stated in a box at the bottom left of the failure certificate, and the dangerous items are noted as such in bold, and starred in the failure list within the body text of the document. VOSA designate these as ‘D-box’ entries.


I have obtained further details for these ‘D-box’ entries from VOSA. For the year ending 31st March 2010, there were some 816,839 vehicles listed with this ‘D-box’ entry, with, altogether about 1.2 million defects considered dangerous by MOT Testers. Generally these vehicles are either left at the VTS for repair, or the owner has the vehicle scrapped. This means that as the result of the MOT test, every day over that year, 2,238 vehicles were declared by MOT Testers to be dangerous to drive on the road, having altogether 3,287 associated dangerous defects. 

DfT report: ‘Fatalities reported road accidents: 2008 – Road Accident Statistics Factsheet No. 2 – 2010

In this useful DfT report there is a section headed “Why do fatal accidents happen?” The first paragraph entitled “Contributory factors:”, states:

“Details of factors contributing to injury accidents are recorded by the police officer attending the scene of the accident. Whilst it is not possible to determine blame from these contributory factors they may offer some insight into why the accident happened. Not all accidents have these factors recorded (i.e. only accidents where a police officer attended the scene can be given factors) and an accident can be given more than one factor. • A third of fatalities resulting from reported personal injury road accidents had the contributory factor ‘Loss of control’ attributed to the accident. 22 per cent had ‘Failed to look properly’ and 17 per cent had ‘Careless, reckless or in a hurry.”

This fully reinforces that accident causation is not nationally recorded in any consistent, regular or statistically sound manner.

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