Bill will create MoT database

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A BACKBENCH Bill setting up a central database of information on car MOT tests cleared the Commons yesterday. The Road Traffic (Vehicle Testing) Bill aims to create a computer link with the 19,000 MOT testing stations in Britain to help enforcement procedures.

Sponsored by Tory Andrew Hunter (Basingstoke), the measure could be payed for by putting up the cost of an MOT by pounds 1. Labour's Andrew Miller (Ellesmere Port and Neston) also called for information on crashes to be collated to help cut the number of road deaths.

Junior transport minister Glenda Jackson said the database would give police and other authorities information which would allow them to examine in detail the causes of accidents. But she added that evidence suggested the majority of accidents were not due to un-roadworthy vehicles but to driver error, including excess speed and driving under the influence of drink or drugs.

Research into the number of cars on the road without MOTs would continue.

Later, opening the third reading debate, Mr Hunter said: "The database will help to ensure compliance with the requirement to hold a valid MOT certificate and will help to aid enforcement." It would improve standards of testing and help the introduction of paperless tests.

Ms Jackson said the Bill was about disseminating information in a way that could "play a major part in preventing and indeed reducing deaths and injuries in our roads". The annual cost of computerisation would be about pounds 22m, but this was likely to be offset by commercial sales of the data, which would help to drive down the cost of MOTs.

The Bill was given an unopposed third reading and now goes to the Lords.

t Staff costs for 10 Downing Street have risen by nearly five per cent over the last three years, it was disclosed today by the Prime Minister.