The Ministry of Transport (MOT) test is a legal requirement for cars of a certain age in Britain, with checks required each year at qualifying garages and test stations. Under new plans by the UK Government, however, MOT tests are set to become a biennial occurrence.
Ensuring that vehicles are given a thorough inspection just once every two years has raised fears over road safety, with campaigners suggesting that less frequent checks are likely to result in a greater number of defective and dangerous vehicles on the road.
Transport Secretary, Philip Hammond, justified the plan, claiming that the saving for motorists would help at a time of exorbitant petrol prices, which, ironically, are caused in part by the Government’s ever-increasing fuel duty charge. In theory, extending the MOT test for another year could actually prove more costly for motorists if garages seek to recover lost revenue and drivers face more frequent mechanical failures. Nevertheless, Mr Hammond is adamant that the change would be of benefit to the average motorist. This could also decrease the likelihood of someone ringing up the no win no fee solicitors.
The Transport Secretary said: “Car technology has come a long way since the 1960s when our MOT regime was introduced. That’s why we think it’s right to check whether we still have the right balance of MOT testing for modern vehicles.”
Having discussed several proposals, ministers appear to have settled on the idea of having an initial MOT test for a car aged four years, a second MOT test two years later and annual checks thereafter. The more extreme option, which remains a strong candidate for approval, is that a vehicle receives its first MOT inspection at the end of its fourth year and biennially after that.
The Transport Research Laboratory has carried out a study pertaining to the proposed changes, arriving at the conclusion that up to 30 more deaths would occur on British roads each year, if the Government opted for the most radical change. The research group added that between two and five extra deaths would occur annually if the more conservative options are chosen. The most popular forms of car related claims is from whiplash.
Personal injury claims would likely soar if plans to extend MOT tests go ahead. The Transport Research Laboratory claims that only 3 per cent of all road traffic accidents in Britain are caused by mechanical defects – a sign, perhaps, that the current MOT testing system is working.
Edmund King, the president of the AA, said: “Even if you have a new car that is three years old, you can still have bald tyres and failing lights. We have surveyed 60,000 drivers and most of them think we should stick with the current regime.”
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