The Four-Year First MOT - Good idea or Road Safety Disaster?
Consultations are taking place over whether the first-year MOT for Cars and Light Vehicles should be increased from the current 3 years to 4 years.
Why Is Moving the First Year Mot Test to 4 Years Being Considered?
As safer technology and improved manufacturing methods have meant cars stay roadworthy for a longer period, the Government are looking to change the requirement of the first MOT to when a vehicle is 4 years old in line with other countries such as France, Ireland, Italy, Spain, and Denmark.
The first MOT text was introduced in the 1960’s and the 3-year rule began in 1967. The annual number of road accidents involving cars that are 3 or 4 years old is falling dramatically, which may be partly due to improved safety features. In 2006, 3 and 4 year, old cars were involved in 155 accidents, this figure had dropped to 57 in 2015. The changes would also apply to motorcycles but not to vehicles such as ambulances, public service vehicles and taxis who currently all require an MOT test when 1 year old. The content of an MOT test is not being considered for change in this proposal.
Transport Minister Andrew Jones has said:
“We have some of the safest roads in the world and an MOT test plays 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.”
Financial Impact of the 4 Year MOT
The current charge for an MOT is set at a maximum of £54.85 and drivers face a fine of up to £1000 is they fail to produce a valid MOT certificate for a vehicle registered in their name. Every year 2.5 million vehicles undergo their first MOT, so to wait another year would save the consumer around £100,000. However, a saving for one is often at the expense of another.
Currently there are 29 million MOTs carried out at around 22,000 garages every year, with the proposed changes these companies are sure to experience some loss in income due to the reduction in MOT test they would be carrying out.
Safety Concerns with the 4 Year MOT
Although motorists are responsible for ensuring their vehicle is in good roadworthy condition regardless of whether their MOT is due or not, many fail to do so.
Many experts believe vehicles would be left on the road with basic faults that could cause a safety concern. For example, a faulty light is the top reason a vehicle fails an MOT (30%) and has clear safety implications in the ability to signal to other drivers on the road or even be visible. Tyres cause 10% of all fails causing concern for the driver and other road users if the vehicle loses grip on the road, 8.5% of fails are due to the drivers view of the road relating to wipers, mirrors, and washers so there are some drivers out there who don’t even have a full view of the road ahead! There is concern that these kinds of faults would go unnoticed for a longer and potentially cause an accident.
Any changes made to the timing of the first MOT would come into effect in 2018.
What do you think? Is this a long overdue change or will it reduce the safety of our roads? Do the changes go far enough considering France Germany and Denmark only require MOT test on vehicles every other year after their first test?
The comments above do not necessarily reflect Rivervale's views unless clearly stated.
25 January 2017
Written by Natalie Faughy