The Department for Transport (DfT) has unveiled new proposals which would extend the period before the first MOT test is needed from three to four years.
The extended exemptions could come into effect as early as next year, subject to a consultation launched by the DfT and DVSA last week.
Transport minister, Andrew Jones said: “We have some of the safest roads in the world and MOT tests play an important role in ensuring the standard of vehicles on our roads.
“New vehicles are much safer than they were 50 years ago and so it is only right we bring the MOT test up to date to help save motorists money where we can.”
The government’s preferred choice is to either increase the age all vehicles get their first MOT from three to four years or to increase the age cars and motorcycles get their first MOT from three to four years, but keeping it at three years for vans in classes four and seven.
- Option one: Keep the current period for vehicles requiring a first MOT at three years, with no change.
- Option two: Increase the age all vehicles get their first MOT from three to four years.
- Option three: Increase the age cars and motorcycles get their first MOT from three to four years, but keeping it at three years for vans in classes four and seven.
The proposals have been pitched as a ‘money-saving’ move for owners of the 2.2 million cars that undergo their first MOT test each year.
It is anticipated that option two would result in 8.3 per cent fewer tests while option three would result in 7.5 per cent fewer tests.
In the consultation document, the DfT says: “Garages affected by a loss in revenue will need to look at options for utilising the freed up resource from doing fewer tests, and may face transitional costs associated with new work or services implemented to fill that gap.”
The DfT argues that in the last ten years, the number of three or four-year-old cars involved in accidents where a vehicle defect was a contributory factor has fallen by almost two-thirds, from 155 in 2006 to 57 in 2015.
Road safety concern
However, the Retail Motor Industry Federation (RMI) believes that drivers are far less likely to be aware of vehicle faults, particularly as the majority of new cars have a three-year warranty period from the manufacturer which identifies and rectifies such faults without cost to the driver in the period where an MOT is not yet required.
Speaking previously on the risks of moving to a 4-1-1 MOT system, RMI director, Stuart James said: “The government seems to take the view that the MOT is a burden on motorists.
“Road safety is a priority for them and their families and they understand that roadworthiness testing of vehicle is an important part of making our roads among the safest in Europe.”
Independent garages across the country have contacted GW to emphasise their safety fears.
GW reader, Alastair Mayne said: “Unfortunately many members of the public think that we, the motor trade, are purely against this change because we will be ‘missing out on MOT test charges’.
“It is important for us to educate our customers, the public, in order for them to understand the safety issues this stupid change could create.
“We are all sharing our roads with other vehicles and so it is in everyone’s best interest to make sure that every other vehicle on the road is a safe as possible.”
Neil Lindsay told GW the consequences of a 4-1-1 system “doesn’t even bear thinking about.”
He said: “Some are clocking up 100,000 miles per year and often the state of the vehicles, even after a year, are not safe.
“Surely, if four years is to be seriously considered there should be some overriding mileage limit to force earlier than three yearly tests let alone four yearly tests.”
Similarly, Hassen Oomar said: “I have come across so many cars of 18-months-old that require attention [with] tyres, ball joints, wheel bearings, top suspension mounts just to name a few.
“To lengthen the time of testing to four years will jeopardise the life of other road users.
“I regret to say that those behind this idea are stupid and have no ideas about safety.”
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