MOT test times to be reviewed

  • First test for new cars could be moved to four years
  • Ministers to debate on changing test to every two years
  • Fears that delaying checks could mean safety suffers

Motorists could see their costs fall if ministers get their way and change the frequency of MOT tests.

The amount of time between checks is set to be reviewed by Transport Secretary, Philip Hammond. Currently a new car doesn't have to have its first test until it is three years old, but this could be extended to four years.

Further changes will be discussed by the government including a proposal to test new cars two years after the first test. This means that over a six year period a new car will have had just two checks.

The more radical changes proposed by ministers is extending the time of regular checks from once a year to once every two years instead.

Hammond is hoping these changes will help car owners save cash while he has also argued that the advance in car safety technology has come on to such an extent since the MOT was introduced 50 years ago that cars no longer require annual tests.

Hammond said: "Car technology has come a long way since the 1960s when the MOT regime was introduced. That’s why we think it’s right to check whether we still have the right balance of MoT testing for modern vehicles."

While the plans might be welcomed by drivers, the AA has expressed a concern over safety and garages across the country are set to miss out with the average MoT costing £55 before any extra work is done.

The AA claims that in the current financial climate, people are already skipping minor maintenance on their cars and that MOTs are more important than ever. Any talk of savings might not be what owners think too as leaving the time between checks longer could result in further damage to their car and eventually end in a more costly repair job.

AA President Edmund King said: "Even if you have a new car that is three years old, it can still have bald tyres and failing lights. We have surveyed 60,000 drivers and most of them think we should stick with the current regime. Rather than being a burden on the driver, we think it’s a good safety reminder for once a year."

According to the Transport Research Laboratory 3% of accidents on British roads are caused by vehicle defects. It claims that between 16 and 30 additional annual deaths on the road would result if the proposals got the green light.

However, the government may feel that it might want to curry favour with motorists already feeling the pinch and these changes could be a boon to UK motorists who face ever-rising fuel and servicing costs. 

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