NI 53 - New proposals unveiled which would extend the period before the first MOT test is needed from 3 to 4 years.

Post date: 21-Apr-2017 18:29:33

Half a million unsafe vehicles could be allowed on the roads if ministers relax the rules

New cars and motorcycles could no longer require an MOT for the first 4 years on the road under plans to save motorists more than £100 million a year.

Proposals unveiled today (22 January 2017) by Transport Minister Andrew Jones would extend the period before the first MOT test is needed from the current 3 years to 4.

The government is consulting on the plans which will bring England, Scotland and Wales in line with Northern Ireland and many other European countries including France, Ireland, Italy, Spain, Denmark and Norway.

In 1967 the MOT-free period was reduced from 10 to 3 years. Now, safer technology and improved manufacturing means new vehicles stay roadworthy for longer.

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.

It is a legal requirement that all vehicles are roadworthy, regardless of whether they have passed an MOT test and the content of the tests will not be changed. More than 2.2 million cars each year have to undergo their first MOT test, which costs owners a maximum of £54.85.

In the last 10 years, the number of 3 or 4-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.

The most common reasons for cars to fail their first tests are faulty lights, according to the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA).

In addition, almost half of faults found during all MOT tests could be avoided by carrying out simple checks and maintenance, including replacing bulbs, checking tyres and oil as well as ensuring windscreen wipers work, and the DVSA is running an ongoing campaign to help motorists ensure their vehicles are safe at all times.

Subject to the public consultation, the changes could come into effect in 2018.

It is claimed half a million ‘death trap’ cars could be allowed on the roads if ministers press ahead with plans to relax MOT testing rules on new vehicles, the motoring industry warns today. Ministers want to delay the first MOT test to four years, and have just finished consulting on these plans with motoring groups, manufacturers and safety campaigners.

The government argues this would save motorists £100million a year in total, with an MOT costing £45. A YouGov poll published today suggests the vast majority of motorists - 83 per cent - would prefer to spend the money on taking the test earlier and receive ‘peace of mind’ that their car is safe.

vehicle inspection

According to the poll commissioned by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, more than two thirds (68 per cent) are worried that delaying their car’ s first MOT could put themselves and other drivers in danger. The SMMT said postponing the first MOT for a further twelve months could result in nearly half a million ‘unfit’ cars remaining unchecked on UK highways. It added that cars which would normally have failed will remain legally on the road as potential ‘death traps’. Some of the most common items which cause cars to fail MOT tests are ‘critical wear and tear safety components’ such as brakes and tyres.

The government argues that modern cars are much safer and reliable than in the past.

A recent poll of 19,000 AA members found that 44 per cent supported adopting a four-year MOT for new cars, while just 26 per cent opposed the move.

Edmund King, the president of the AA, welcomed the saving to drivers but warned it could mean faults on cars not being picked up as quickly as usual.

"The good side is drivers can save on their MOT. But on the other side you can still have a three-year-old car that has old tyres or faulty brakes," Mr King said.

"The danger is that you might have a slightly higher proportion of un-roadworthy cars on the road because problems don’t get spotted."

Nearly 2.5million three year old cars fall due for their first MOT test annually – with 421,000 vehicles, around 17 per cent – failing. The SMMT said this will undermine efforts to reduce accidents, casualties and road deaths. Three-quarters (76percent) of the 2000 car-owners polled said the Government must abandon plans to delay the first MoT for cars by a year. And nearly eight out of ten (89per cent) of owners said they were unlikely to buy a used-car more than three years old without a valid MoT certificate. The SMMT said technology in cars such as tyre pressure monitoring systems, lane departure warning or wet weather tyre performance, is making cars safer.

But while such systems may help prevent or mitigate accidents, it said they do not prevent wear and tear of tyres and brakes. Features of the test are below.

MOT test what is included

In the last decade the number of three or four-year-old cars involved in accidents where there was a vehicle defect has fallen by two thirds, from 155 in 2006 to 57 in 2015.

SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes called the MOT an 'essential check on the safety and roadworthiness of vehicles'. SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes said safety should come ahead of deregulation, cost saving and convenience. He said: ‘MOT is an essential check on the safety and roadworthiness of vehicles. Extending the first test for cars from three to four years is not what consumers or industry want given the serious risk posed to road safety and vehicles’ environmental performance.

A recent tyre investigation TyreSafe in partnership with Highways England found that more than a quarter (27.3per cent) of car 340,000 tyres checked were below the legal minimum tread depth of 1.6mm. Just over 70per cent of the tyres examined were worn below the recommended 2mm minimum and unlikely to last another year before reaching the legal minimum.

Nearly six out of ten (56%) car owners admit they don’t themselves examine their tyres once a month as recommended. One in five (18%) admit checking them just once a year or less - or not at all. The Department for Transport previously explored and rejected plans to delay the MoT for new cars in 2008 and 2011.

In 2008 it estimated that switching from three years to four would lead to up to 71 additional road deaths.

In its latest consultation which has just ended, the Government said: ’ Extending the first test requirement to four years would introduce a saving to consumers of over £100 million ever year. With more modern vehicles and improved technology, it now seems appropriate to review the threshold for the first MOT, a threshold that was introduced in the 1960s.’

Government is consultation plan (pdf)

Source: DVLA /Daily Mail / AA searches

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