Motorists have put their support firmly behind keeping the first MOT test for cars at three years, according to new research published by the Society of Motor Manufacturers & Traders.
In a YouGov survey, when told about Government plans to change the date of a car’s first MOT, 76% of car owners said the test should continue to take place when a vehicle is three years old.
Currently, all cars in the UK must take an MOT test when they reach three years old, and then annually thereafter, but the Government is proposing to delay the date of the first test for 12 months to when the car is four years old. It argues that this would save motorists £100 million a year, or £45 over a vehicle’s lifetime.
However, 83% of car owners showed resistance to the idea, saying that £45 – the typical MOT test fee – is worth the peace of mind that their car is safe, roadworthy and legal.
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 SMMT shares this concern.
In its consultation, the Government suggested that new technology in cars such as tyre pressure monitoring systems, lane departure warning systems and wet weather tyre performance is making cars safer. However, while they may help to prevent or mitigate accidents, they do not change the fundamental underlying operation of wear and tear products such as tyres and brakes, which continue to require regular checks and maintenance.
In addition, 17% of all cars taking their first MOT at three years do not meet the minimum safety requirements. Postponing the first MOT for a further 12 months could, therefore, result in almost half a million more cars driving freely and unchecked on UK roads in an unfit condition.
“The MOT is an essential check on the safety and roadworthiness of vehicles,” Mike Hawes, the SMMT’s Chief Executive, said. “Extending the first test for cars to four years is not what consumers or the industry want, given the serious risk posed to road safety and vehicles’ environmental performance. 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.”