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Industry unites against proposed MOT extension

By autotech-nath on March 7, 2023

Trade associations have rallied against Government plans to extend the period before a new vehicle has its first MOT from 3 years to 4 as a consultation takes place to gather opinion and information from both the public and the industry on the proposed changes.

Any increase in the first test frequency will see the number of defective vehicles on UK roads rise, which could also lead to more road accidents and fatalities, says the Independent Automotive Aftermarket Federation (IAAF). It also states that MOT failures are disproportionately high for electric vehicles when they are first tested at three years, in addition, the delayed MOT will mean no official mileage or emissions checks recorded until after four years.

Evidence also shows MOT and servicing are often done at the same time, so a reduction in test frequency means a reduction in servicing, further separating a motorist’s responsibility on a vehicle’s roadworthiness. Mark Field, IAAF chief executive, said: “The DfT has put forward no credible argument for changing the MOT first test from three years to four years. It’s bad for the motorist, the environment, the public and motor industry and we will fight any measures that threaten road safety.”

Educating motorists is vital in fight to protect MOT

The IAAF says there is a clear need to educate consumers on the safety benefits of carrying out regular MOT tests, following a mixed response on social media from motorists on the plans to delay the first test.

One user said: “Modern cars are far safer than they used to be so extending the plan is logical.”While another suggested: “Spend a week in an MOT test garage and see the state of some of the vehicles that come in, then imagine them getting another year to drive about unchecked. In an ideal world people would look after their vehicles but sadly this is not always the case. And don’t forget that the current UK MOT is minimum standards…”.

An MOT inspector responded: “I have found and seen lethal faults on vehicles that are tested EVERY year… They use the same potholed roads; potholes do an amazing amount of damage to vehicles every day of the year. Modern vehicles still use brakes and tyres that wear out and get damaged, let alone all the electrical ABS, lighting and ancillary components that fail on vehicles…”

IAAF is calling on the Driver & Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) to support MOT stations and garages with their own communication on the importance of roadworthiness checks. The IAAF’s Mark Field said: “MOT testing stations and testers need to be better supported in communicating to motorists why the MOT test is in place. Much is done on the importance of roadworthiness but more needs to be done to promote confidence with those that are actually carrying out the test.”

The association argues that changing the test frequency risks driver and public safety and will ultimately cost motorists more money.

“We support plans to modernise the MOT, but we do not believe in a change of frequency. By reducing the frequency, the public will perceive this as being an indication that vehicles are ‘more reliable’, especially in relation to vehicles that use driver style or journey type to calculate when a service is required – which is often every two years. This would be a contradiction to any Governmental message that vehicles need to be maintained more frequently to offset the change in MOT frequency.”

The MOT needs to be modernised

Hayley Pells, Policy Manager at the Institute of the Motor Industry, says the stated goal of the Consultation is to ensure MOTs remain fit for the future; seeking views on proposals to change the date at which the first MOT is required to four years, as well as widening the scope to encompass new automotive technologies such as autonomous systems.

“The advances seen in automotive technology and systems, for improved performance and safety as well as reduced environmental impact, mean the current MOT model is well overdue for review and the IMI welcomes the announcement of this Public Consultation… Although never a substitute for the recommended maintenance and repairs that motorists are responsible for to maintain roadworthiness, the current MOT test could be improved and new methods explored that better fit the current car parc, and the automotive technology of the future.

“The question of MOT testing frequency is also part of the consultation; an important issue that has dominated conversation about testing for some time. What is important to ensure is that a focus on cost-saving does not put road users at heightened risk.”

A petition has been launched by automotive trade bodies to stop the Government’s plans to extend the period before a vehicle has its first MOT and is backed by the Independent Garage Association (IGA) and the Garage Equipment Association (GEA) among others. UK Government will respond to the petition if it reaches 10,000 signatures and will be considered for debate in Parliament (currently has 7,368 signatures). The petition is running until 23 July 2023, however the consultation period for the Government’s proposals to change the MOT frequency ends on 22 March 2023.

Simply enter your name and email address to sign the petition to stop the 4-1-1 MOT at https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/631650

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