In addition 7.4% of cars and taxis and 9.2% of vans had defects which were sufficiently serious to be taken off the road immediately. The drivers of the remainder were ordered to have defects rectified within 10 days. The survey also found that 4.2% of cars and taxis and 2.9% of light vans were producing illegal levels of emissions.
Lord Whitty said: 'The results of this survey are worrying because they reveal a large number of unroadworthy vehicles on our roads. These jeopardise the safety of all road users and, in some cases, they are unnecessarily polluting.
'Although we know most accidents are caused by driver error, it is inevitable that some accidents are caused by defects and that some are made worse than they would otherwise be, simply because the motorist has failed to maintain the vehicle properly.'