Major changes to the MOT test rules in Britain could have huge legal ramifications warns Cristina Parla from leading law firm Roythornes Solicitors. She cautions motorists to fully understand the system as the law may not be on your side if you are involved in an accident.
The rules around MOT tests in Britain changed last week (20 May) and could potentially make it harder for vehicles, including cars, vans and motorbikes, to pass the MOT test thanks to a new sliding scale of testing. However, the new regulations could have negative implications for UK drivers.
The move was introduced by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) to improve air quality and make roads safer. The new testing scale for a MOT slides from ‘dangerous’ to ‘major’ to ‘minor’. ‘Dangerous’ and ‘major’ defects are automatic fails whereas a ‘minor’ defect is a pass but should be repaired as soon as possible and it is here where the potential danger lies.
An example of how the new MOT system could impact your legal bearing if involved in an accident could be regarding faulty brakes. If an accident had been caused by faulty brakes but the owner of the car denies they were faulty, the legal team could ask to see the most recent MOT which should now record defects in the appropriate category.
If there is evidence to show that the brakes were an issue at the time of the last MOT then there is potentially evidence to hold that person accountable.
There will also be stricter rules on diesel emissions introduced to help crack down on air pollution and also additional safety checks will be carried out during the MOT – such as underinflated tyres, fluid leaks or reversing lights. The changes will make it harder for vehicles, especially diesel, to pass the test but it is anticipated that these tougher regulations will improve air pollution and make roads safer for motorists.
However, I would encourage all drivers to fully understand the system and if your vehicle passes with a minor you should seriously consider repairing the fault in case it causes an accident later down the line. The cost of repairing an old brake pad will be minimal in comparison to the cost incurred from an accident deemed your fault.