Given that every Government since around 2005 have had a hanker to tinker with the MOT, primarily to take it from annually to every two years, we were anticipating yet another challenge to the fragile livelihood of MOT Testing Stations, who over the years have had more and more additional and complex examinations inserted into the already bulging Testing Manual, along with changes in the MOT computer requiring purchase of new IT equipment, with no corresponding increase in the Test fee.
In the Budget, George Osborne has announced that as a counterpart to some changes in vehicle road tax, he will save motorists money by deferring a vehicle’s first MOT from after year 3 to after year 4.
This will largely affect Testing Stations who test relatively young vehicles, and will have the greatest affect in the first year it happens. On the other hand questions will have to be asked regarding Class 7 vehicles and light commercial vehicles in Class 4 with relatively high mileage and especially Class 7 with its 50% failure rate. As the MOT now records mileage, arguably the effect could be ameliorated by also putting a mileage cap on that fourth year exemption – something the trade should argue for.
It won’t happen straight away, and will be subject to consultation via the Department for Transport. Undoubtedly the MOT Trade will be challenging the proposal, and we will certainly be doing our best to raise awareness of the road safety implications.
While the proposal to defer a vehicle’s first MOT until it is four years old will, as stated, affect some Testing Stations more than others, we still believe it is misguided and based on flawed thinking, and will result in increased numbers of unsafe vehicles on the roads, at a time when the EC’s stated road death target is ‘zero’.
It’s a step in the wrong direction for road safety.