Currently, around 2.39m UK cars have outstanding safety recalls, some with dangerous defects. Because of this, the DVSA, Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency wants a check for manufacturer recalls to be included in the MOT test.
These checks are included in roadworthiness assessments in Germany, where a car fails if the owner hasn’t acted upon the recall issue by the time a vehicle is retested.
In May last year, emission checks and new defect categories were added to the MOT test checklist in order to stop potentially dangerous vehicles out on the roads. These new changes to the long-standing vehicle check was arguably the most significant alteration in its near 60 year history. This resulted in an increase in failed tests.
Additional measures to include outstanding safety recalls could see a further increase in failed tests.
What adjustments are going to be made?
In an interview with Auto Express, the motoring magazine, the DVSA said they want the MOT test to toughen up its rules to ‘cover outstanding safety recalls’. The DVSA estimates that around one in 13 cars in the UK will automatically fail the assessment due to this.
Neil Barlow, the head of vehicle engineering at the DVSA said that the ‘DVSA has to also ensure that motorists have fair warning of newly added recalls’. As well as this, they should have ‘reasonable time’ to have the issues fixed, as is the case with other European countries.
Barlow warns that changes would need to be made to legislation for the MOT to include these checks.
Car manufacturers are required by law to contact owners regarding these recalls, such as faulty seatbelts and airbags. Dealers have to make sure all cars sold have been checked on the recalls database before leaving their forecourts.
However, there is no legal mandate for owners to have these dangerous faults fixed. Therefore, these cars can be passed through the second hand market with no repairs.
How will I know if my car has been recalled?
The main problem is that many motorists are unaware that their car is subject to an outstanding safety recall because manufacturers are unable to contact them.
Tracking non-repaired vehicles proves to be a difficult task. Especially when they are sold onto the used car market, as well as owners that choose to use independent servicing and maintenance companies rather than franchised garages.
To aid this, the DVSA launched an online recall checker tool last year. They hope to help drivers to identify if their car has an outstanding recall. Even because of this, there are still millions of vehicles with defects. Which is why the DVSA have introduced the tougher MOT test rules to crack down on this issue.
It is in the best interests of the vehicle owners to get the recall work done which is why many welcome the possibility of these new changes. They believe it is a sensible idea as manufacturer recalls are issued for a reason and that it could remove a lot of potentially defective cars from the roads.