Government Abandons Plans To Change MOT Rules

MOT testing station logoThe government announced today that it will not change the MOT testing regime: the existing system where cars require an annual test once they are three years old will continue.

I have written about this topic twice recently and although I support the retention of the current system, I am still mystified as to why French and German cars have a much lower first-time failure rate than British cars. Any ideas?

The government has announced some step aimed at trying to tighten up the existing system and make testing standards more consistent – the key decisions made by government include:

  • Retaining the existing rules on MOT test frequency; with an initial test three years from first registration and every year thereafter.
  • Encouraging the take up of industry codes of practice, such as the OFT-approved schemes run by Motor Codes, and expand them to include MOT testing.
  • Helping motorists to spot ‘clocked’ second hand vehicles, by changing MOT certificates so that they carry the last three years’ mileage information as well as the mileage on the day of the test.
  • Arranging ‘mystery shopper’ tests to help improve performance in addition to those already carried out by VOSA.

The motor industry was also in favour of keeping the old system, due in part to fears of job losses in garages across the UK. Paul Everitt, SMMT Chief Executive, had this to say about the decision:

“Industry welcomes the decision by government to retain the existing MOT test regime, supporting the need to keep road safety a top priority,” said Paul Everitt, SMMT Chief Executive. “Government will encourage garages to take up industry codes of practice to ensure a consistent and high quality approach to testing, thereby building consumer confidence and satisfaction. Industry will continue to work with the OFT-backed consumer protection scheme, Motor Codes, to play its part in improving standards across the service and repair sector.”

I would reiterate what I’ve said before – annual testing is only part of the solution. Individual motorists need to take greater responsibility for the state of their cars and ensure that tyres, lights and windscreens – the most common MOT failure items – are kept in safe and legal condition.

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