Goverment considers two-year MOT

  • MOT frequency may change from every year, to every two
  • New cars would only be tested after four years
  • Goverment warned of potential increase in accidents

The Department for Transport is considering reducing the frequency of MOT tests in order to fall in line with the European Union.

In the UK a vehicle must have its MOT test within three years of registration - and tests yearly thereafter. The European Union regulations, however, state that a vehicle should have its first test when they are four years old, then a test every two years.

Roadsafe, a partnership of leading companies which aims to reduce road accidents, has warned against the change, because an annual MOT is essential for picking up faults with a vehicle. Simply extending the time between these tests will potentially put lives at risk.

Testers in the UK pick up on 8.5 million cars with defects each year and the Department for Transport has acknowledged this in their own reports - stating that reducing the frequency of MOT tests would increase the number of dangerous cars and casualties

In 2008 the failure rate for MOTs was 35%, increasing between 2009 and 2010 to 37%. Regardless of this issue, and their own information, the Department for Transport is still looking to reduce the frequency of tests.

Owners are typically expected to service and maintain their cars between tests but few do - simply relying on the MOT to pick up on any problems such as failed bulbs, poor brakes or illegal tyres - with over 12% of tyres being illegal on replacement.

One counter argument that has been presented is that modern vehicles are more reliable and better built - but this is irrelevant when you consider that a 3 year old car could do 20,000 miles a year and have completely illegal brakes and tyres - so if the new system was in place then in that situation it could still be driven for another year. A vehicle's condition is the responsibility of the owner and regardless of how well made it is, or how new it is, if the owner fails to maintain it or identify faults then it will become dangerous - hence the need for an MOT to inspect for faults on a routine basis.

If the current system were to change to a two-year interval, the number of unsafe vehicles on the road could rise dramatically and lead to more accidents.

Increasing the duration between MOTs could also cause financial problems for many smaller garages that base their business solely on MOT testing and MOT-testing related work.

Despite the facts and figures, the Department for Transport is still investigating the potential change.