The government is proposing that newly purchased vehicles have their first MOT when they are four years old (rather than three, as per the current requirement).

This information is from the SMMT. They report that the proposal has caused widespread concern from UK motorists who fear that it could lead to unsafe cars being allowed on the roads.

The government argues that extending the wait for MOTs could save an average of £45 over the course of a vehicle’s lifetime. That works out at a saving of £100 million per year for the UK’s motorists. Of course, the counter-argument is that it will cost the car servicing industry to lose the same amount.

In order to put the proposal into action, a public consultation will occur. If successful, it could lead to the new measures being in place as early as 2018.

It seems, however, that the majority of motorists oppose the proposal. YouGov has conducted a survey on the matter, which indicates that 83% of drivers would rather have peace of mind over the safety of their vehicle than an extra £45. 76% of a similar data set back calls from the automotive industry to keep the law as it stands (currently a three-year wait between the purchase of a new vehicle and its first MOT).

What risk does this bring to road safety?

During an MOT, a mechanic rigorously tests the vehicle against legal requirements. This includes examining lights, seatbelts, tyres, brakes and emission levels. Motorists can receive fines of up £1,000 for driving a car without a valid MOT.

Interestingly, many in the car industry actually believe that the current MOT checks are not rigorous enough. They would prefer reform in this area, rather than a new policy that they see as potentially harming the safety of motorists even more.

In reality, most four year old cars should pass an MOT with flying colours. Indeed, the Department for Transport points out that improvements in manufacturing standards mean that new vehicles stay roadworthy for much longer nowadays.

However, as AA President Edmund King said, the new proposal could see an increase in the number of cars on the road with “faulty tyres and lights,” which an MOT would address and which enhanced manufacturing standards have not necessarily impacted. King did also acknowledge, however, that the new measures would bring “cost and time savings for drivers.”


What do you think about the government’s new proposal? Would you take the £45 saving over the full peace of mind regarding vehicle safety? Let us know in the comments section below.

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