UK drivers ignore MOT test proposals in favour of safety

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Recent research has found that 67 percent of British car owners were concerned that extending the MOT would put lives in danger. A further three-quarters agreed that the typical £35-45 cost of a test is a price worth paying for the peace of mind it provides that their car is safe and roadworthy.

In January, the Government launched a consultation on potential changes to the format of the MOT test.

One of the headline proposals was to delay a car’s first MOT from when it is three years old to four or five years old to save drivers money.

The Government stated this change would deliver a cumulative saving to owners of three-year-old cars worth between £91 and £117million. This is based on 2.6 million first tests.

On average, drivers benefitting from the change would save between £35 and £45 over the first three years of ownership.

The data, which was published by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, found this would represent a saving of just 23 to 29p a week.

Almost nine in 10 respondents to the survey (87 percent) said they would prefer other ways to save money.

Possible money-saving avenues could include a reduction in Vehicle Excise Duty or a cut in fuel duty, over a delay in safety checks of their vehicle.

The research also found that 66 percent of respondents spend more than the typical price of an MOT in fuel alone over just 14 days.

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It would take a cut in fuel duty of between a fifth and a quarter of a penny to deliver the same total saving across all motorists, not just those with relatively new cars.

Mike Hawes, chief executive of the SMMT, said safety was the number one priority for most drivers and the results of the questionnaire backed that up.

He added: “Our survey shows that drivers support the existing MOT frequency and that there is little appetite to change it, despite the increased cost of living. 

“If changes to the MOT are to be made, these should enable testing of advanced electrified powertrains, driver assistance technologies and connected and automated features, as drivers value the peace of mind the MOT offers.”

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Billions of pounds have been spent by manufacturers to make vehicles safer over the years, utilising smart features like autonomous braking to help drivers.

Despite this, the MOT remains the first opportunity to identify natural wear and tear on safety-critical components such as tyres and brakes.

More than 20 percent fail to regularly check their brakes are working, with one-fifth not checking their tyres, which can be potentially fatal.

Experts suggest that drivers should check their tyres at least monthly, as well as before any long journeys.

A further 17 percent say they don’t monitor whether their lights and indicators are functioning.

People not checking their lights and indicators, tyres and brakes result in almost 250,000 MOT test failures in 2022 alone.

Because of this, the SMMT is calling on the Government to maintain the requirement for a first MOT at year three, and annually thereafter.

Other parts of the MOT consultation are favoured. This includes introducing improved emissions tests and adaptations in line with the shift in technology to electrification and advanced driver systems.

The Government’s MOT consultation period was extended in February and will now end at 11.45pm on March 22.

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