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SMMT calls for government proposal to extend first MoT to four years to be scrapped

SMMT calls for government proposal to extend first MoT to four years to be scrapped

Extending the time when cars and vans require a first MoT from three to four years would have a significant impact on vehicle safety and the proposal should be scrapped, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).  

Furthermore, a YouGov survey for the SMMT of 2,036 adults, including 1,266 vehicle owners/ registered keepers, suggested that 83% claimed the typical £45 MoT test fee was worth the peace of mind that their car was safe, roadworthy and legal.

The government announced a consultation on extending the requirement for a first MoT from three years to four years earlier this year and it is now examining the responses.  

In announcing the consultation, the government said extending the first test requirement to four years would introduce a saving to consumers of more than £100 million every year.  

However, the survey suggested that 76% of car owners backed the automotive industry’s call for government to abandon plans to delay the first MoT for cars by a year and 89% of car owners said they were unlikely to buy a used car over three years old without a valid MoT certificate.

More than two thirds (68%) also expressed concern that delaying the car’s first MoT could put themselves and other road users in danger, and the motor industry shares that concern.  

In its consultation, the government also suggested that new technology in cars such as tyre pressure monitoring systems, lane departure warning or wet weather tyre performance, was making cars safer.  

However, while such systems may help prevent or mitigate accidents, they did not change the fundamental underlying operation of wear and tear products such as tyres and brakes, which continued to require regular checks and maintenance, said the SMMT.  

A total of 17% of all cars taking their first MoT at three years old did not meet minimum safety requirements, said the SMMT. Therefore, postponing the first MoT for a further 12 months could result in almost half a million more cars in unfit condition driving freely and unchecked on UK roads.  

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: “The MoT is an essential check on the safety and roadworthiness of vehicles. Extending the first test for cars from three to four years is not what consumers or industry want given the serious risk posed to road safety and vehicles’ environmental performance. 

“The latest vehicles are equipped with advanced safety systems but it is still critical that wear and tear items such as tyres and brakes are checked regularly and replaced. We urge government to scrap its plans to change a test system that has played a vital role in making the UK’s roads among the safest in the world.”   The most common reasons for three-year-old cars failing the MoT include essential lights and indicators, tyres, brakes and suspension.  

The SMMT said it believed safety should come ahead of deregulation, cost saving or convenience, and in fact, it wants the test to go further  

The motor industry is calling for additional checks such as allowing diesel particulate filters to be properly tested; introducing vehicle safety recall checks to remind motorists of outstanding recall work and ensure it is carried out; tightening the check on mileage to aid the fight against clocking; and ensuring the test and testing stations were sufficiently equipped for checking emerging technologies such as automated safety systems.