The Department of Transport are currently holding discussions about bringing Britain’s MOT system in line with the rest of Europe by scrapping the annual MOT test. On the continent, it is common for all new cars to only be tested for the first time, four years after they are manufactured and then they are subject to an MOT every two years.
Safety campaign groups have warned the government that this will lead to an increase in the number of unfit and unsafe used cars on British roads. They point out that UK MOT centres pick up over 8.5 million faults with used cars annually and is the test were to only be every two years this would double.
In 2008, the MOT failure rate for used cars was around 35% and by 2009, this had risen to 37%. The attitude of most car owners is to see the annual MOT as a way of checking for servicing issues and a time for essential maintenance to be identified. While the care of the car between tests is the owner’s responsibility, the majority of people in reality do very little in the way of day to day servicing.
Support for the Department of Transports initiative points to the fact that these days modern cars are better built and more reliable and therefore an annual MOT test is not as necessary. However, when you consider that some cars can cover up to 20,000 miles in a year it will not take long before their brakes are in serious need of replacement and tyres will more than likely be illegal.
The department seems intent on driving this latest piece of legislation through, despite the voices of concern and opposition. Many small garages have also added their own worries about the economic impacts on their business when increasing the test intervals.