It’s hard to know where to start with the government’s wrongheaded proposal to reduce the frequency of MOTs.
Fundamentally, MOTs are there to protect drivers, other road users and pedestrians.
They ensure that vehicles are safe to be on the road, by identifying both potential and current issues with critical parts, including brakes and tyres.
There is no research or evidence to suggest that the idea of reducing them from an annual requirement to something that must be carried out every two years would not compromise safety.
This idea is solely a political one, a way to grab headlines so that the government can use to say it’s putting money back into people’s pockets during a cost-of-living crisis. And the numbers don’t even stack up – but I’ll return to that in a minute.
MOT standards are reviewed and updated every year to make sure that technicians have the latest knowledge and skills as the UK’s vehicle parc ages and evolves.
The rapid pace of technological change in modern vehicles, including the mandatory inclusion of ADAS in all new cars, makes this process critical to upholding safety standards over time.
According to Highways England, we have one of the safest road networks in the world.
Saving drivers £55 every other year doesn’t justify gambling with everyone’s safety – and that’s before you question whether the savings even stack up.
Consider that vehicles will now spend half the time in workshops that they did previously.
Minor problems will fester for two years before becoming major ones.
And with weekday vehicle usage now settled permanently below pre-pandemic levels, thanks to the rise of hybrid working, the risks of issues like brake corrosion and blocked particle filters increases.
Consumers face being left with much higher repair bills the less frequently they take their cars to the workshop.
It’s almost as if there was a reason why second-hand cars maintain their value with a full service history.
Next we must consider the impact on the independent aftermarket, a sector that relies on MOTs for a significant source of its revenues.
And one that has already had to cope with an unprecedented period of disruption as the annual MOT cycle was shifted off its axis during the early months of the pandemic.
Seasonal patterns of supply and demand have been upended, causing real complications in resourcing and training – problems that the market leant into and coped with admirably.
As I’ve said before, this is an industry that supports 30,000 livelihoods and is present in every city, town and thousands of villages right across the UK.
The idea of cutting the frequency of MOTs is unsafe, unlikely to save money and a risk to a significant part of the economy.
There are easier and more meaningful targets in the cost-of-living crisis than our vehicles and our garages.