Motorists against a European style MOT cycle: IAM

14.27 | 21 November 2011 | | 5 comments

60% of motorists think that a car’s first MOT should continue to be carried out after three years, with just 29% favouring a move to a European system which tests cars after four years, according to an IAM poll.

A new European Union directive sets down a minimum requirement for the MOT, with the first test carried out when the car is no more than four years old, and subsequent tests no more than two years apart. Most of Europe uses this ‘four-two-two’ cycle of testing.

But the UK has a more stringent cycle of testing with the first test when the car is three years old, followed by annual testing. Despite this, 27% of three-year-old cars in the UK fail their first MOT test, whereas in France, which adopts the four-two-two cycle, 6% of cars fail the first test at four years old.

Simon Best, IAM chief executive, said: “In a time when people are struggling financially, the MOT seems to be one cost they are happy to pay. The IAM is wary of abandoning our well-established and accepted cycle of MOT testing. The poll suggests that most motorists are happy with it.

“But the question needs to be asked, why are so many cars in the UK failing at only three years, and why does France have a much better pass rate at four years? Before any change to the system, the Government should commission a review to assure motorists that MOT tests are safe, reliable and consistent. The test should be for the benefit of road safety – not the garages that carry it out.”

For more information contact the IAM Press Office on 020 8996 9777.


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    Why do we seem to have the imperative to raise speed limits and reduce control measures for a part of life that kills more poeple than any other so called ‘accident’?

    I well remember the state of cars that I used to stop in my early days as a traffic officer and thankfully one does not see the neglected car around so often now.

    With a general absence of comprehensive road policing we cannot afford to drop our guard further by relaxing measures that are already in place for the safety of everyone.

    Alan Hale – South Gloucestershire Council Road Safety Team
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    Despite Britain having the busiest roads in Europe we also have the safest. Our MOT failure rate is higher but their accident rate is so much higher also. Why bring our standards down to meet theirs, maybe they should adopt our frequency and might get their road safety to a standard like ours.

    Russell Barker
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    I can confirm that the tests, “Controle Technique” as it is known, are carried out by independent centres which provide no other service. The cost is around 55€. From having observed a test of my own vehicle I would say they are comparable with those carried out in UK.

    Brian H. Road Safety GB
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    Is there a relationship with mileage and failure rate? Perhaps the UK’s higher average annual distance travelled is a factor? Is the French test as stringent as the UK’s MOT? Do garages that may benefit from work due to a failure carry out tests in France, or are tests only available at official test centres offering no remedial works? The stats are pretty useless without these comparisons.

    Agree (0) | Disagree (0)

    Perhaps the French look after their cars better? Most MOT fails are on basic items like lights and tyres which an owner or operator should spot (if they bother to check) long before MOT time.

    We have a better system than the proposed EU one, why would we want to adopt a worse one?

    Dave, Leeds
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