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Vehicle Tests

Volume 656: debated on Wednesday 28 March 1962

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asked the Minister of Transport whether he will make a statement on the effect of the compulsory testing of cars more than seven years old in removing faulty cars from the roads.

Up to the end of January, 1962, over 935,000 vehicles submitted for test were refused a certificate on initial inspection. This represents 35 per cent. of all vehicles tested under the scheme. Precise figures are not available of the number of vehicles subsequently brought up to standard and passed, but a detailed analysis of a sample of the returns from testing stations indicates that about 5 per cent. of the total number of vehicles tested failed to qualify for a certificate. There are no means of telling how many vehicles were scrapped without submission to test because they were known to be faulty. The licensing records indicate, however, that the vehicles in the testable classes which were scrapped during 1961 appeared to show a sharp increase over previous years.

Is the Minister aware that a very dangerous racket is still carried on by unscrupulous dealers in old cars? When certificates have been granted, a day or two later experts have said the cars are of no use, and cars in the meanwhile have been sold. Will the right hon. Gentleman see to it that some further protective measure is taken because certificates at present deal only with questions of lighting, steering and braking, whereas there are many other defects which ought to be considered before a certificate is granted. There are many other matters to be dealt with. Will the right hon. Gentleman see whether anything can be done in that regard, because this is becoming a public scandal?

If the hon. Member will give me details of what is becoming a public scandal and will be kind enough to send me the details of any particular cases, I will certainly look into them, but a general statement such as he has made is not really very satisfactory.

In view of the great value of the testing of these cars in getting unfit cars off the roads, as shown by the Minister's Answer, can the right hon. Gentleman give any indication at the moment when he expects to be able to reduce the seven years to six years?

I cannot at the moment, but I can assure the right hon. Gentleman that it will be done as quickly as possible.

Can my right hon. Friend say whether he has yet found a means of bringing within the scope of the tests cars manufactured abroad more than seven years ago but not registered in this country until less than seven years ago?