Motor Industry News
The family of a man, who died in a 'cut-and-shut' car that split apart in a smash two years ago, today demanded a change in the law after the Government said welding two halves together is not illegal.
Helga Bradley, whose son Stuart died in 2004, said she was shocked to learn that such cars are on the road and many motorists and car dealers may not be aware of their history.
Furthermore, while MOT testers will even check that lights are working, they said they do not look at whether two halves of cars have been welded together - meaning that there is no test to ensure such work is up to standard.
Calling for tighter restrictions, a spokesman said cut-and-shut cars could not offer the same security as vehicles that came off the assembly line intact.
The revelation came after the North West Telegraph asked the Driver and Vehicle Testing Agency if it had made changes to how MOT tests were carried out after criticism by a coroner at an inquest in August. The inquest into the death of Stuart Bradley (20) from N. Ireland heard that he died instantly when his mother's Toyota, which he was driving, smashed into a tree on December 11, 2004.
Coroner John Leckey, in August, said: "The car driven by the deceased comprised of two sections of a Toyota car welded together. This is illegal and I hope the PSNI investigation is successful and results in prosecution either in Northern Ireland or across the water."
He added that he hoped there would be investigations at MOT centres in Coleraine and Newbuildings, which had passed the car.
However, after being asked for an update, a spokesman for the Driver and Vehicle Testing Agency said today that the procedure is not illegal. The spokesman said that the MOT test is not designed to assess structural integrity and that the seam welds would not be visible to an examiner. "It is not illegal to join two vehicles together as the coroner suggested," said a spokesman.
Roger Powell of mycarcheck.com, said that second-hand car buyers should always check a vehicle's history closely before parting with money and to use their £9.95 check at www.mycarcheck.com that shows up all previously recorded accident damaged vehicles (ex NI). And that a physical inspection (even an MOT) will help in establishing the road-worthiness of any vehicle.