The damming statistic points to hard-driven light commercial vehicles being neglected by vehicle operators; and despite awareness of the problem, little seems to be done to rectify it.
As the MOT test is a vehicle safety and roadworthiness assessment, the one-in-two failure rate of three-year old vans also raises significant safety concerns for van drivers and other motorists alike.
There is, however, a sliver of good news in the analysis of official Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency MOT failure statistics by Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles: 45% of MOT faults could be avoid through simple regular maintenance.
32% of vans failed for faulty bulbs; 5% failed because of worn tyres, 8% failed because of faulty mirrors, windscreen wipers, washer fluid or illegal number plates.
Another 40% of failures were because of excessive brake and suspension wear that regular maintenance would quickly detect.
The fact such straightforward maintenance is not being carried out by vehicle operators, leading to relatively new vans running around with bald tyres, dodgy brakes or worn suspension, is a scandalous statistic the CV industry should be ashamed of.
That it can’t even rectify faults when nudged to by a looming MOT test shows there’s something seriously wrong with how Britain’s van network is operated.
We are all aware of the dangers of dodgy old vans on British roads, and wisely steer clear of them. But vans on a 62-plate registration standing a one-in-two chance of having worn tyres, faulty wipers or duff brakes? That’s shameful.
What’s more, the industry is aware of it yet, over the past three years, appears to have done nothing about it.
The fleet car industry surely wouldn’t put up with this, through fear of public liability or corporate responsibility issues. Why should the CV industry be so very different?
Until something is done, my advice is to give white van man a wide berth – no matter how new the van he’s driving…
Trevor Hodgson-Phillips, head of service and parts at Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles, said: “News that nearly half of all LCVs on the road are still failing their MOT tests first time round is worrying, especially as these figures have shown no change in the past three years.
“The latest result show us that UK van owners are still risking increased running bills, extended vehicle downtime periods and, potentially, a decrease in the overall resale value of their vehicle by not looking after their van properly.”
He continued: “The road-worthiness of the vehicle is also something that business owners should be thinking about. Should an accident occur and the vehicle deemed to be below standard, company owners could be left facing hefty fines or even prison terms.”
Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles is trying to do something about it, with a range of fixed-price MOTs and services, plus a service and MOT package costing from £150 +VAT, and also a commitment to visually check for roadworthiness every single LCV brought into a Van Centre.
It’s a start. But there seems to be plenty of more work to be done.