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Department for Transport confirm MOT test will stay at three years

by Anton Balkitis

A car’s first MOT tst will stay at three years, the Department for Transport confirmed yesterday following a public consultation to gauge opinion about extending a car’s first roadworthiness test to four years.

Since 1967, the law has been that all new cars must undergo an MOT test after three years and every year after that.

The motive behind the consultation was to help save motorists money in an era where driving is becoming more and more expensive. It was argued that vehicles today are much safer than they were 50 years ago and thus called for the test free period to be extended by a year.

The Government suggested the change would collectively save drivers around £100million a year, however the public response showed that the safety concerns outweighed the opportunity to save money, with less than half the public consulted voting in favour of the extension.

In an official statement, Roads Minister Jessie Norman said: ‘We have some of the safest roads in the world, and are always looking at ways of making them safer.

‘Although modern cars are better built and safer than when the MOT test was last changed 50 years ago, there has been a clear public concern that any further changes don’t put people’s lives at risk.

‘We are looking at further research to ensure the MOT test evolves with the demands of modern motoring.’

The latest MOT figures released for 2016 show that of over 2.4 million cars which had their first test that year, 85% passed meaning that some 360,000 vehicles flunk their first examination were deemed at fault in some way. Figures released from the RAC show the most common reasons for failing an MOT test are as follows:-

  1. Lighting and signalling (18.9%)
  2. Suspension (13%)
  3. Brakes (10%)
  4. Tyres (7.7%)
  5. Issues affecting the driver’s view of the road (7.2%)

Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation, said that he believes the MOT test focuses drivers’ minds on the state of their vehicle.

‘No one wants to see unnecessary costs for motorists but keeping this frequency of inspection could actually save people money by alerting them to problems before they become serious, expensive to fix and dangerous to other road users.’

Roger Griggs, communications director for Kwik Fit, added: ‘Although cars are becoming ever safer, Kwik Fit’s research has shown that on many cars wearable items such as tyres aren’t checked frequently enough, with drivers relying on the MOT to flag issues.

‘We encourage drivers to regularly check tyres, lights and brakes and not wait until the MOT, whether it’s the car’s first test or its tenth.’

Despite the plans to extend the first MOT test to four years being scrapped, changes to allow any car over 40 years old to be exempt from having to undergo the annual examination will go ahead and from May this year no car or motorcycle over this age will need to be tested. This means that an additional 300,000 classic vehicles will now be exempt from MOT test along with the 200,000 models that already fall outside the law in this respect.

Rothera Sharp has a team of expert traffic lawyers who help drivers facing disqualification to keep their licence. For free initial advice please call 0800 046 3066


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