Changes to MOTs could bring later test dates, technology testing

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MOT tests could be moved back to four years after initial registration, with less-frequent checks thereafter

The proposal comes amid the growing popularity of hybrid and electric vehicles and new vehicle technology

The UK government has launched a new consultation to “ensure MOT [tests] remain fit for the future”, which could involve pushing back the date of a vehicle’s first MOT. 

Changes will affect MOT testing for cars, motorbikes and vans, and the proposal comes amid the growing popularity of hybrid and electric vehicles and the introduction of new vehicle technology. 

Key changes proposed include changing the date of a new vehicle’s first MOT from three years since initial registration to four years, which the government says will save motorists around £100 million per year in MOT fees. 

The government has claimed that moving a car’s first MOT back by a year won’t impact road safety, because of the introduction of new technologies such as lane-keeping assistance increasing road safety. 

As part of the consultation, drivers have been asked to share their views on when the new first date for an MOT should be, how making the change would affect businesses and whether any other changes would be introduced. 

Many other countries in Europe, such as Belgium, Denmark, France, Italy, Portugal and Spain already undertake roadworthiness tests four years after a car’s initial registration. 

Other proposed ideas include emissions monitoring, which will help bring down levels of pollution and improve vehicle efficiency. The government said new measures could include strict testing of pollutants like particulats and NOx.

Changes to EV testing are also under consideration, and potential tests could be brought in to improve reliability and safety through battery tests.

The government also said EVs could be used to judge whether new regulations should be introduced to take measures against excessively loud engines. 

The AA supports keeping MOT tests up to date and “fit for purpose”, making sure that new technologies such as “advanced safety features and autonomous systems” are properly checked. 

The motoring association did however warn against axing annual tests and spoke against shifting back a vehicle’s first MOT to year four, saying that brakes and tyres often need repairs after three years. 

Drivers agree. According to an AA poll that took the views of more than 13,000 drivers, 83% suggested that annual MOTs were “very important” for keeping cars and roads safe.  

“The MOT plays a vital role in ensuring that vehicles on our roads are safe and well maintained, and while not a formal recommendation, we totally oppose any change from an annual MOT,” said AA president Edmund King.

“With one in 10 cars failing their first MOT, we strongly discourage the government from extending a car’s first MOT to the fourth anniversary, due to road safety concerns.

“However, there are aspects of this consultation which we support, such as ensuring the MOT is fit for purpose for the new technology in vehicles.

“Making sure MOT testers check and test advanced safety features and autonomous systems are important as the nation’s car parc evolves.”

The RAC doesn’t oppose shifting back a car’s first MOT by a year but suggested that higher-mileage cars should be tested sooner. The organisation stated it was disappointed that the government was “still entertaining the idea of increasing the time between MOTs”.

“Our research clearly shows drivers don’t agree with this and believe it’s dangerous,” said the RAC’s head of roads policy, Nicholas Lyes. “It would also likely increase the number of unroadworthy vehicles on our roads – putting lives at risk – and not save drivers any money, as they would likely end up with bigger repair bills as a result.”

Source: Autocar

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