Road Safety News
 

Government to extend new car MOT-free period to four years

Monday 23rd January 2017

Owners of new cars and motorcycles will no longer require an MOT for their vehicles’ first four years on the road, under new plans which the Government says will save motorists ‘more than £100m a year’.

Announced yesterday (22 Jan) by transport minister Andrew Jones, the proposals will extend the period before the first MOT test is required from the current three years.

While acknowledging that the MOT test plays an important role in ensuring the safety of vehicles, Mr Jones said that new vehicles are much safer than they were 50 years ago when the MOT-free period was reduced from 10 to three years.

It is a legal requirement for all owners to ensure their vehicles are roadworthy, regardless of whether they have passed an MOT test, and the content of the tests will not change.

More than 2.2m cars each year have to undergo their first MOT test, which costs owners a maximum of £54.85.

In the last 10 years, the DfT says 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.

The most common reason for cars to fail their first MOT test is faulty lights, according to the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA).

Andrew Jones said: “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 is now consulting on the plans which it says will bring England, Scotland and Wales in line with Northern Ireland and many other European countries including France, Ireland, Italy, Spain, Denmark and Norway.


Stakeholder reaction

The RAC says it is 'generally supportive' of the plans, but has expressed concerns over high mileage vehicles.

David Bizley, chief engineer, said: "It is perfectly possible for a high mileage vehicle at three years old to have done in the region of 100,000 miles which would make an MOT entirely appropriate. However, the situation with an average mileage vehicle would be very different as, at four years old, it may only have around 40,000 miles on the clock.

"The high mileage vehicle, on the other hand, may have added another 30,000 miles which in our opinion would be far too many before its first MOT."

 

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For a lot of drivers, tyres are considered a "distress purchase" and low tread is frequently ignored until the MOT comes around. Changing to 4 years is likely to be accompanied by an increase in the number of not-so-old cars running around with worn out tyres. Bad move DfT / Mr Jones.
Pat, Wales

Agree (15) | Disagree (5)
+10

Lovely! My car will have travelled potentially 90,000 miles before its first government mandated safety examination. It's a good thing that I follow manufacturers' recommending servicing intervals, right?
David Weston, Corby

Agree (15) | Disagree (0)
+15

The contributions of the road environment and vehicles' defects to collsions are insignificant compared to the contributions made by drivers, but the roads and vehicles are subject to quite rigorous regular inspections and can be 'made good' - the drivers aren't.

I'd love to see some collision reports where vehicle defects really did play a part and weren't just present on the vehicle at the time and presumed by the investigators to have been a factor.
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

Agree (5) | Disagree (0)
+5

I consider the proposal to have vehicles first examined by an MOT test at four years old to be a real step backwards in terms of road safety.

Many of today's drivers are not involved with their vehicles in the way that drivers of older, less reliable cars had to be. When I began driving the drum brakes on my old Mini had to be frequently adjusted by hand, and in so doing things like defective tyres would have probably been noticed. Today's cars demand much less hands-on involvement, but in four years they can cover enormous mileages. Tyres will wear out, they will wear unevenly if suspension beomes worn or damaged, lights will fail, and even things like windscreen wipers will need to be replaced.

An MOT test is often the prompt for a bit of much-needed maintenance, and to reduce its coverage of vehicles is a mistake. The Government has no desire to save motorists £100M per annum when it is prepared to take our trousers down every time we fill up with fuel. To say they want to save motorists money is a vote-catching lie when their real aim ought to be improvements in road safety.
David, Suffolk

Agree (20) | Disagree (6)
+14