How MOT Fraud is being Tackled by the Government

This article will highlight the dangers of MOT fraud, committed by some small businesses, and the impact they have not only on themselves and their employees but also on society.

In the UK, every vehicle older than three years is legally required to undergo an annual test of its safety and functionality. This is called the MOT test. It covers everything from steering to headlights, wheels to mirrors, exhaust pipe to windscreen wipers and so on. Around thirty million tests are carried out every year – and, given that just 2% of road incidents occur as a result of mechanical failure, it’s fair to conclude that they’re doing an effective job.

What is MOT fraud?

Of course, for every legal requirement, there’s a temptation for a few people to try to get around these. And unfortunately, as is becoming increasingly clear, a number of employers and self-employed businesses do.

That’s what MOT fraud is: the practice of handing out certification to cars that haven’t actually passed the MOT test. This practice imposes risk on the general public, as it increases the number of dangerously faulty cars on the road and therefore increases the likelihood of car accidents happening.

A recent example of MOT fraud comes from the case of Jamie Smith, of Pontefract, who issued a pass certificate on a van that had been impounded by Spanish police. The individual in question had been paid to pass the fraudulent MOTs. And further investigations showed that there was multiple vehicles, including some vans, which had been issued MOT certificate pass by Mr Smith, without ever actually been tested by anyone. Most mechanics and garage employees know better than doing this however with the cost-of-living crisis, it has been something that some might have thought about doing – if not already.

What is the government doing about it?

The Driving Vehicle Standards Agency has increasingly the ability to check where in the world a given vehicle is. When MOT certificates are issued suspiciously far from where the database expects the vehicle to be, there’s grounds for a further investigation.

There’s also a mechanism via which members of the public can report MOT testers whom they suspect of having passed a vehicle fraudulently or even failing them on purpose in order to generate more work. Often, this only catches out MOT testers who’ve committed large amounts of fraud.

The DVSA has the power to prosecute fraudulent MOT testers, and to ban them from testing. The DVSA has uncovered around 1,324 cases of MOT fraud in 2021-2022, of which 710 were placed in the most serious category, related to dishonesty and negligence. This is a rough doubling of the figure from 2017-2018. There has also been a ninefold increase in prosecutions since 2019 – which suggests that the authorities now have unprecedented power to root out miscreants.

How does this practice endanger other road users?

If the risk of driving an untested car were restricted to the person driving it, then this issue would be one of personal choice. But unfortunately, dangerous cars share a road with everyone else. If you’re struck by a car whose brakes are faulty, then you might have been involved in an accident that might otherwise have been avoided.

Fortunately, road users have plenty of choice when it comes to reputable testing centres. You can even book an MOT online and have it conducted, wherever in the country you happen to be. Make sure that you file the records away safely, and check the vehicle for any obvious faults before going through the testing process.

Author: Editorial Team

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