Plan for MOT test every two years could lessen financial burden on households amid cost-of-living crisis
Industry bodies claim a suggested plan to make the MOT test a biennial rather than annual requirement could “make our roads more dangerous”.
As reported initially by The Telegraph, the plan was mooted at a cabinet meeting last night after prime minister Boris Johnson called on members to come up with ideas to reduce the financial impact on UK households.
If passed into law, the move could save motorists up to £54.85 per year – the legal maximum cost of a test.
Under current legislation, cars more than three years old need an MOT certificate, and this must be renewed every year. Cars more than 40 years old are exempt from the requirement, but it’s still recommended to have them checked yearly anyway.
Any plans will need to be ratified by the dedicated Cost of Living committee, which Johnson will chair, The Telegraph reports.
But a number of leading car-industry voices have heavily criticised the idea, claiming it will cost drivers more than the proposed savings, as issues with cars will be identified later, resulting in higher repairs bills.
“Although well intended, moving the yearly £55 spend on an MOT to every two years could make costs worse for drivers with higher repair bills, make our roads more dangerous and put jobs in the garage industry at risk,” a spokesman for the AA said.
“Only recently the government stepped away from switching the MOT to every two years on the grounds of road safety, while AA polling shows overwhelming support from drivers who like the security that an annual health check provides.
“The MOT now highlights major and dangerous defects too, showing how important it is to keep cars in a safe condition.”
MOTs could be made into a once-every-two-years requirement, if early-stage Government plans are adopted into law.What do you think about this?
— Autocar (@autocar) April 27, 2022
AA head Edmund King tweeted: “[The] idea of [making the] MOT every two years flies in face of driver opinion, as 94% motorists say it was ‘very’ or ‘quite’ important to road safety. MOT is appreciated by [the] vast majority and means at least once a year, for cars over three years, there is [an] independent check on safety and emissions.”
Meanwhile, Nicholas Lyes, head of policy at the RAC, said: “The purpose of an MOT is to ensure vehicles meet a basic level of safety for driving on our roads. Shifting it from annually to every two years would see a dramatic increase in the number of unroadworthy vehicles and could make our roads far less safe.”
One source who attended the cabinet meeting told The Telegraph: “If we moved from an annual check to a check every two years, that’s halving the cost of MOT renewal. That’s a bread-and-butter policy that shows that the Conservatives are on your side.”
The news has also been criticised by the Independent Automotive Aftermarket Federation (IAAF), which claims independent garages would feel a financial hit if tests were pushed back.
Mark Field, IAAF chief executive, said: “Each time the MOT test frequency has been called into question, it has been proven beyond doubt that extending the test frequency would actually mean an increase in repair costs for drivers, insurance premiums and harmful emissions, as well as reducing road safety as there will be an increase in defective vehicles on UK roads.
“It would also be a significant blow to thousands of independent garages and the entire automotive supply chain, who were able to remain open throughout the coronavirus pandemic, ensuring the safe and affordable mobility of essential workers and members of the public.”
Mike Hawes, chief executive of trade body Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, said: “The industry shares the widespread concern over rising prices and the squeeze on household incomes. Safety, however, must always come first and, whilst today’s vehicles are more reliable than ever, regular MOTs ensure safety-critical components such as brakes and tyres, which wear out as a result of normal operation, are properly inspected and maintained.
“Stretching MOT intervals will undermine the safety net at a time when vehicle miles driven are increasing. To ensure the safety of our roads, drivers, passengers, pedestrians and other road users, inspections and maintenance must be carried out annually following their first presentation in year three.”