Motoring|

MOT Rules to be Eased

MOT Test LogoIt’s been suggested by the government that it’s interested in relaxing rules that make motorists pay for a MOT test every year. This comes even though it’s been warned that changes to the regulations could cause at least another 50 deaths on the nation’s roads each year. The study, which was commissioned by the government, said that the reduced frequency in MOT tests, which cost £54.85 right now, is likely to have unfavourable road safety consequences – especially for older cars.

The Transport Research Laboratory predicts that vehicle defects contribute to about 3% of accidents on roads. Meanwhile, motoring groups claim that permitting cars to be tested every two years may double the rate of casualties and accidents, which would add about 55 deaths a year. However, Department of Transport sources say the findings in the report haven’t deterred ministers. This is part of an ongoing review of the MOT regime. It’s important after nearly 50 years, during which technology for vehicles has massively advanced. The research doesn’t prove anything one way or the other, the insider added.

Right now, new cars have to be tested three years after being purchased and then every year following that. Philip Hammond, the Transport Secretary, sparked anger earlier in the year when he launched a look into delaying the first MOT test for new cars to four years after their purchase. They are also considering having new cars tested every other year until they are ten years old, with the initial test starting the process after four years. The changes are an attempt by the government to soften the financial burden for drivers, who have been hit hard by the skyrocketed price of petrol.

Garages have condemned the proposed changes for fear that the income they get from MOT tests could be cut in half. Motoring groups have stressed the safety implications of letting cars be driven for longer before they are checked, citing potentially fatal issues like worn brakes and bald tyres. Automobile Association (AA) head of road safety Andrew Howard says the government may think the impact of vehicle defects isn’t very large. However, 3% of 200,000 road deaths is 6,000 people dying or being unnecessarily injured. Cars can pass checks one day and develop defects the next, but they won’t be picked up for two years under the proposed system. This would be a big risk, he added.

Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders’s (SMMT) Jonathan Visscher says the priority for the industry is to ensure the safety of vehicles is maintained to the highest standard possible. The newly proposed system can’t be justified – particularly when the European Union is planning to reduce the number of deaths on roads. Regular MOT tests are important in reducing the cost of maintaining and running a car, as they enable motorists to determine potential problems before they enter the later stages, he added.

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