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DVSA clamps down on MOT fraud

Over 280 Authorised Examiners were banned from running MOTs in 2021/22, in a clampdown by the DVSA (Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency). It also banned 127 Examiners from running Vehicle Testing Stations, with some facing jail sentences.

The DVSA chose to make the figures public to highlight the issue of fraudulent MOTs, which it takes very seriously. Detecting dodgy MOTs has become easier since new technology enabled the government agency to detect where vehicles are. “The latest technology and intelligence-based targeting allows us to track vehicle movements,” according to a DVSA statement, “meaning we know where vehicles are, and where they’re not. We can then compare this with MOT test data to ensure the right outcome.”

In 2021/22 it found 1,324 incidents of MOT fraud, of which 710 were serious cases relating to negligence and dishonesty. It’s not known how many of these cases related to motorcycle MOTs. In one example, a car which had passed its MOT was found to have 21 faults including missing brake pads – the DVSA investigated, and the tester involved subsequently pleaded guilty to issuing 152 MOT passes fraudulently – he received a suspended sentence of 18 months in prison, 240 hours of unpaid work and a bill for £5,000 in costs.

The DVSA itself emphasises that most of Britain’s 60,000 private MOT testers, who between them conduct 30 million MOTs a year, are honest and thorough. Either way, few would argue that honest MOTs are an essential means of keeping unsafe vehicles off the road. The Government has proposed reducing MOTs to a bi-annual test, rather than every year, something that ROSPA (the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents) has warned against.

“MOTs have always been subject to questionable practises; it’s been likened to an undeclared arms race between the DVSA and a tiny minority of the Testers. It remains to the credit of the system that vehicle faults are such a small proportion of accident causes. The biggest failure area remains tyres, which are something you’d think even the most uninvolved rider would take an interest in. Unfortunately, while not as bad as car drivers, they’re still a surprising proportion. Going over to a bi-annual test would make it far less likely that such basic problems would be picked up in time. Riders averaging in excess of 10,000 miles a year, which is a low bar, could easily fall into that bracket.” said BMF Chair Jim Freeman.

Words by Peter Henshaw

Top image courtesy of Google Images.