Speaking in The House of Commons last week, Chancellor George Osborne announced a consultation on extending the deadline for new cars and motorbikes to have their first MOT test from three years to four years, saving motorists over “£100m a year.”
In the ‘Budget for working people’, Osborne said the changes would supplement VED reforms.
With around 20 per cent of cars already failing their first test, questions are being asked about the road safety implications.
IAAF chief executive, Wendy Williamson said: “Moving to an extended testing period would potentially cause more accidents and fatalities due to defective vehicles on UK roads.”
Whilst it can be argued that technology is continually improving vehicle safety, components that require regular maintenance and replacement will always remain.
Warranty Direct’s managing director, David Gerrans warns that a move away from the traditional three-year first test date will mean that essential maintenance work will be postponed.
Gerrans said: “Whilst adding another year before an MOT is due is a nod to manufacturer build quality, it could be viewed as detrimental to road safety, as the average driver will need to replace tyres and brakes before the four year mark.
“Extending the deadline for the first MOT of new cars from three to four years, will only encourage motorists to postpone necessary maintenance work for anything up to an extra year, potentially putting the driver and other motorists at risk.”
MOT test stations have been faced with a number of changes in recent years, with an ever-expanding check list of testable items and a continued battle against unfairly discounted fees.
Dipstix Managing Director, David Cederholm said: “There’s a need for some clarification on this subject. Nothing has suddenly made cars safer.
“If anything, there’s more of an argument for tightening the MOT rather than relaxing regulations.”
One analysis of cars taking their first MOT between 2010 and 2011 found that 353,000 failed the test.
Approved Garages network manager Phil Seymour said: “If some cars are not fit for the road after three years, it stands to reason that even more will be on the roads in a potentially dangerous condition after four.”
Tim Benson, director at Oldfields Garage in Leominster, told GW: “From a business point of view it will certainly impact on the volume of MOTs but the biggest concern is the safety aspect.
“If people do service their vehicles and keep on top of the maintenance as they should, the vehicle should remain roadworthy but it they don’t, it’s going to cause problems.”
TyreSafe chairman, Stuart Jackson notes that there is already evidence that motorists do not check or maintain serviceable parts and “only replace them when required to do so in order to pass the MOT.”
Ivan Phillips, director of Ivan Phillips Automotive, commented: “It’s absolutely appalling. Who knows what can happen in three years, let alone four.”
Burden on motorists
The Retail Motor Industry Federation (RMI) argues that drivers today 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.
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.”
Some experts have said that the trade should argue for a mileage cap on the fourth year MOT exemption, solving any high mileage related issues on dangerous cars that could otherwise continue to drive on our roads unchecked.
Many people have taken to twitter to voice their discontent and raise their concerns, although some motorists claim such changes are long overdue.
@George_Osborne trying to kill people now? No mot on vehicles until 4 years old? I get bikes in and at 6months old they are death traps!!
— Kirsty Robinson (@Tinybikerchick) July 9, 2015
Typical Tory stupidity. So many new cars fail an MoT after 3 years, after 4 they will be death traps. Ridiculous idea that will cost lives. — Col (@Orpingtondad) July 8, 2015
MOT on new cars extended from 3 to 4 years = screw you road safety — Richard Worth (@Donkey_Hoty) July 8, 2015
MOT’s to go up to 4 years, from the current 3 years. About time to. Cars are built FAR better than when I started driving.
— Andrew Lye (@AndrewLye) July 8, 2015
Do you think plans could go ahead to extend the first MOT date, despite the strong opposition and widespread concern for safety? Leave your opinions and share your concerns in the comments below. Don’t forget to send us your MOT horror pictures and stories.