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People considering buying a brand new car, van or motorcycle, could soon enjoy another year’s “grace” before they need their first MOT under proposals being fine-tuned by the Government.
It is estimated the MOT deferral from three to four years could save the motoring public £100 million a year and is being considered because “safer technology and improved manufacturing means new vehicles stay roadworthy longer” than their predecessors.
The change would also bring England, Scotland and Wales in line with Northern Ireland and other near neighbours such as France, Italy, Spain, Denmark and Norway. The change could come into force as early as next year.
The proposal relates to new, currently unregistered, vehicles and excludes those that have to be tested after only one year, such as taxis and ambulances, which have up to eight passenger seats.
The Government has two other options to consider: to leave things as they are; or to make the change but continue to test smaller vans (not exceeding 3,000KG) and larger vans (between 3,000KG and 3,500KG) from three years.
According to government data, in the past decade the number of three and four year old cars involved in a crash where a defect proved to be a contributing factor fell from 155 in 2006, to 57 in 2015.
The MOT test was first introduced in 1960 under the direction of the Minister of Transport, Ernest Marples. Half a century ago the MOT-free period was reduced from 10 to three years, so it could be argued this latest change is long overdue.
Transport Minister Andrew Jones said: ”We have some of the safest roads in the world and tests play an important role in ensuring the standard of vehicles. New vehicles are much safer than they were 50 years ago – and so it is only right we bring the test up to date to help save motorists money where we can.”
The minister said there is no plan to change the requirements of the MOT itself, and that motorists would continue to have a legal responsibility to ensure their vehicles were roadworthy irrespective of whether they required a test certificate.
MOTs normally cost around £50, with the price capped at a maximum of £54.85. You can be fined up to £1,000 for driving a vehicle without a valid MOT.
Edmund King, the president of the AA, welcomed the saving to drivers but warned it could mean faults on cars not being picked up as quickly as usual.
“The good side is drivers can save on their MOT. But on the other side you can still have a three-year-old car that has old tyres or faulty brakes,” he said.
“The danger is that you might have a slightly higher proportion of un-roadworthy cars on the road because problems don’t get spotted.”
The Government is now consulting on its proposals and interested parties have until April 16 to respond.
Government stats show the three most common MOT fails are:
- 30% of all faults related to lighting and signalling (bulbs or fuses blown, lenses cracked, or switches broken)
- 10% of all faults related to tyres being worn or wrongly inflated
- 8.5% of all faults related to the “driver’s view of the road” (faulty mirrors, wipers or washers)