New campaign opposes MOT reform

08.32 | 24 October 2011 | | 3 comments
A new campaign has been launched to oppose the possible scrapping of the annual MOT test.

The PRO-MOTE campaign refers to ‘the DfT’s own figures which estimate that up to 3,000 more road deaths and serious injuries would occur if annual safety tests ended’.

PRO-MOTE says that more than 25 organisations representing motorists, road safety campaigners, cyclists, small businesses, insurers and the wider motor industry are backing the campaign to press ministers to rule out a reduction in the frequency of MOT testing.

The Government has announced its intention to review the current testing system and has talked about moving away from the existing 3-1-1 system, under which new cars and vans are tested after three years and every year thereafter. Most other EU countries operate a 4-2-2 system which tests new cars at four years and then at two-yearly intervals thereafter.

In response to the proposals, the PRO-MOTE campaign has published a report titled – ‘Dangerous, Expensive and Unwanted: The case against reducing the frequency of MOT testing.’

The report argues that:

• The annual increase in deaths and serious injuries resulting from more defective cars being on the road could be up to 3,000.
• Any saving to the motorist in terms of fees would be far outweighed by likely increases in insurance premiums and repairs.
• 94% of drivers think the MOT Test is very (71%) or quite (23%) important to road safety.
• Carbon emissions are likely to increase if annual tests are scrapped
• Up to 40,000 jobs in the MOT industry, including a large number of apprenticeships, would be at risk.

The campaign is writing to ministers and MPs and encouraging supporters to sign an online petition via the campaign website.

Edmund King, president of the AA, says: “The Government should state that they will not change the frequency of MOTs.”

Julie Townsend, deputy chief executive at Brake, the road safety charity, says: “Downgrading the system so MOTs are only required every two years is a nonsensical and inhumane policy that would mean many more needless tragedies.”

Nigel Bartram, senior motor underwriting manager at Aviva, says: “The MOT is the only time some vehicles receive any safety checks and maintenance, and to reduce the frequency of this check could cost lives.”

James Gibson, spokesperson for Road Safety GB, says: “Road Safety GB is keen to support the PRO-MOTE campaign – the evidence shows that changing the testing regime will reduce safety on our roads.”

Click here to download the report ‘Dangerous, Expensive and Unwanted: The case against reducing the frequency of MOT testing’, or click here to visit the campaign website.


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    I am a 77 year old driver and do a maximum of 5,000 miles a year. I believe that mileage should be the main factor in deciding when an MOT is due, perhaps every 10,000 miles?

    William Burgess, Leeds
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    I agree with Roy. Any perceived cost savings are surely minute.

    Some of the government prounouncments on thsi subject seem to “blame” Europe i.e. stating the euro legislation requires 2 year intervals. This of course is nonsense as the Euro legislation requires a MINIMUM frequency of 2 years….and in no way precludes a Member State retaining a more “onerous” regime. [Not that an annual test should be considered onerous at all !]

    I have similar views about moving to 4 years for first MOT – if we cannot win that argument then perhaps there should be an underpining mileage maximum e.g first MOT after 40,000 miles. I shudder to think that you could go say 100,000 in the first four years and not get a vehicle inspected !

    Peter, Manchester
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    Here is a case that supports keeping the MOT as it is. An acquaintance took an ageing car for an interim service and MOT. The examination revealed that both front discs were worn below the minimum thickness and warped. All the front pads were below the limit. Both rear drums were worn beyond the maximum amount of wear allowed and the shoes were worn to less than 1mm of thickness. Also the brake fluid had deteriorated and needed replacement. If the test had not been required for another 12 months, what state would these brakes have been in by that time? The MOT must stay at the current annual level.

    A further argument against extending it to 24 months is that there are far fewer Traffic Division police officers, trained as vehicle examiners, patrolling our roads. On a short trip yesterday, I noticed five cars with stop lights not working, three cars with seriously under-inflated tyres, one car with a bald front tyre (and it was raining!), an empty pick-up truck listing to the off-side with an apparent suspension problem and an HGV with crash damage at the rear that had completely rendered all the off-side rear lights inoperable including the indicator. This was on a journey of less than five miles taking about 20 minutes.

    Here are two quotes; “London’s Traffic Police are the most highly trained police officers in the world” (Commercial Motor 1992), “Traffic policing only begins with the patrols” (Scotland Yard, a Study of the Metropolitan Police, Peter Laurie, 1970)

    Roads policing and MOT testing are partners attempting to achieve the same end – road safety. The government has reduced one savagely, I would beg them not to do the same to the other.

    Roy Buchanan, Epsom
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