MOT changes may be coming. On the 18th of January 2023, the Department for Transport launched a public consultation regarding the future of MOTs in Great Britain.
They are asking the general public for their views on MOT testing for cars, motorbikes and vans. With the hopes that changes will reduce costs for drivers whilst ensuring roadworthiness checks continue. Tackling vehicle emissions and keeping up with the ever-growing advancements in vehicle technology is also on their mind.
One of the suggestions they are looking for views on is to change the date at which the first MOT for new vehicles is required, going from the current requirement of 3 years, up to 4 years. With MOTs costing up to £54.85, this move could save motorists across the country around £100 million a year in MOT fees.
Why are they making changes to MOT testing now?
The MOT test was first introduced over 60 years ago in 1960 and although some changes have been affected throughout those years, the speed at which vehicle technology is changing has rapidly increased. Lane-assisted driving is just one of the recent upgrades we’ve seen as drivers and has greatly improved road safety. The introduction of electric and hybrid cars has also quickly changed the nature of the vehicles on our roads.
Analysis from the government suggests that the change from 3 to 4 years for the first MOT wouldn’t affect road safety however, we’re not so sure. They say their data shows that most new vehicles pass their first MOT at 3 years and that the number of casualties in car collisions due to vehicle defects remains low. Seeing vehicles new and old coming in, we know that just because a car is only 3 years old doesn’t mean it doesn’t have dangerous faults on it. Tyre cords showing, and completely worn brake pads aren’t uncommon even on a car’s first-ever MOT.
That being said, many European countries don’t require drivers to test until four years. These countries include Belgium, Denmark, Spain, Portugal, France and Italy.
Any changes made to the MOT will need to be supported by an information campaign led by the DfT (Department for Transport) and the DVSA (Driver and Vehicles Standards Agency) to inform drivers of the updates to MOTs and remind them that it is their responsibility to keep their vehicles roadworthy.
What will the MOT changes will look like
Part of the changes to MOTs includes new measures to keep up with the ever-changing landscape of vehicle technology. They are suggesting introducing testing of pollutants such as particulate number (PN) and NOx to ensure diesel, petrol and hybrid cars continue to meet emissions requirements. The consultation will also examine whether electric vehicle batteries should be tested to improve their safety and reliability. They also plan to discuss if additional measures are needed to tackle excessively loud engines, and how the DVSA can crack down on fraudulent MOTs and mileage fraud.
What do people in the industry think of the MOT changes?
The president of the AA said that the MOT “plays a vital role in ensuring that vehicles on our roads are safe and well maintained.” He added, “With one in ten cars failing their first MOT, we strongly discourage the government from extending a car’s first MOT to the fourth anniversary due to road safety concerns”.
The head of the RAC’s roads policy Nicholas Lyes said that “while we’re not opposed to delaying a new vehicle’s first MOT, we believe there should be a requirement for particularly high mileage vehicles to be tested sooner.
“We’re also disappointed the government is still entertaining the idea of increasing the time between MOTs. Our research clearly shows drivers don’t agree with this and believe it’s dangerous. It would also likely increase the number of unroadworthy vehicles on our roads – putting lives at risk – and not save drivers any money as they would likely end up with bigger repair bills as a result”.
What does the data show so far?
Data received from bookmygarage.com in a freedom of information request found that 13.1% of 3-year-old vehicles fail their first MOT on a major or dangerous defect. This increased to 15.4% for 4-year-old vehicles. They also conducted a survey on 2,000 motorists that had some shocking results. It found that 58% of them had never checked their lights, and 27% had never checked their tyres. So, if drivers aren’t checking their cars, and MOT testers are only seeing them for the first time after 4 years, how many do you think will fail?
The government are aware of the effects this will have on the MOT workforce. Their proposal states that all 23,400 approved MOT stations across the country will lose revenue. We’re sure you can agree this could be devastating for small independent businesses who rely on regular MOT testing. The government estimates that there could be losses ranging from £56.3 million to £123.6 million on the whole. Plus, because many drivers do their MOT and service together, garages could also lose a chunk of their annual servicing jobs.
How to get your voice heard on the MOT changes?
The Department for Transport has launched an open consultation which you can complete here. With this consultation they are hoping to understand:
- When people think the first MOT date should be
- How making these changes will affect businesses
- Whether they should introduce any other changes to the MOT test
The online consultation is split into two sections. The first section is quick to complete taking less than 5 minutes. If you choose to complete the full consultation, you can expect to spend around 45 minutes on this. The final day to complete the consultation will be the 28th of February 2023. If you can’t get it all done in one session don’t worry, you can save your progress and come back later to finish it.
What does CCM think about the proposed changes?
Our team have the same opinions we had when they first suggested changing the MOTs a few years back. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. A lot can happen in 12 months. Let’s continue to protect people from dangerous vehicles on the roads with regular, annual roadworthiness tests.
We’d love to know what your opinions on this are so be sure to let us know in the comments below.