MINISTERS say they have ‘put road safety first’ as the government decides to maintain the period before a car’s first MOT test at three years.
This comes after the Department for Transport (DfT) consulted with the public last year to decide whether this should be increased to four years.
However, most of those who responded were against the proposals, citing safety as a major concern.
Many argued that the savings to motorists were outweighed by the risk to road users and that the MOT test often highlights upcoming issues affecting the vehicle.
A public survey, conducted by the DfT, also showed only 449 of 1,970 respondents were in favour of the change.
In 2016, more than 2.4 million cars had their first MOT test, which costs owners up to £54.85.
It was argued that changing the time period until the first test would have saved motorists more than £100 million a year.
Roads minister Jesse Norman said: ‘We have some of the safest roads in the world, and are always looking at ways of making them safer.
‘Although modern cars are better built and safer than when the MOT test was last changed 50 years ago, there has been a clear public concern that any further changes don’t put people’s lives at risk.
‘We are looking at further research to ensure the MOT test evolves with the demands of modern motoring.’
CEO of Euro Car Parts Martin Gray commented: ‘We applaud the minister’s decision to put road safety first. As we highlighted in our consultation to the government, around 17 per cent of cars fail their first MOT on their initial attempt, so extending a car’s first MOT to four years could have resulted in an extra 410,000 unsafe cars on the roads and risk higher accident rates. The three-year-for-first MOT system ensures vehicle defects are picked up and remedied quickly, to ensure the safety of all road users.
‘We’d like to thank all those in the industry that petitioned the government. It is our belief, and that of the wider sector, that road users’ safety will be maintained as a result of this decision.’
National Tyre Distributors Association chief executive Stefan Hay said: ‘From day one, we considered the proposal to change the MOT testing frequency to be ill-advised, unnecessary and potentially harmful to motorist’s safety. There was no support from the leading motoring bodies or automotive trade associations and motorists, overwhelmingly, appeared content with the 3-1-1 frequency.
‘Both in its own right and in partnership with its fellow professional bodies within the AALG, the NTDA has campaigned, tirelessly and our tyre and automotive aftercare specialist members rallied to the call and have been phenomenal in their efforts to support our position. I am, therefore, delighted at this outcome which shows the democratic process at its best.
‘Perhaps we can now concentrate on preparing members, and more importantly, their technicians, to deal with more important issues such as the increasingly rapid changes vehicle electrification, connectivity and autonomy will bring about.’
Roger Griggs, communications director for Kwik Fit, added: ‘We welcome the government’s decision to keep the first MOT at three years as we believe this is vital in maintaining road safety.
‘Although cars are becoming ever safer, Kwik Fit’s research has shown that on many cars wearable items such as tyres aren’t checked frequently enough, with drivers relying on the MOT to flag issues. We encourage drivers to regularly check tyres, lights and brakes and not wait until the MOT, whether it’s the car’s first test or its tenth.’
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