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Government abandons plan for first MOT tests after four years

Date: 22 January 2018   |   Author: Sean Keywood

The period of time before new cars must pass an MOT test will remain at three years after plans to extend it to four were scrapped by the UK Government.

The Department for Transport held a consultation last year on making the change for cars and motorcycles.

It said most of those who responded were against the change on safety grounds, and that a public survey by research consultancy Populus also showed fewer than half of respondents were in favour of the change.

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."

The government said that the change would have saved motorists more than £100 million a year. However, those who responded to the consultation argued that this would be outweighed by the risk to road users and that the test often highlights upcoming issues affecting vehicles.

Reacting to the government's announcement, road safety officer Neil Worth of GEM Motoring Assist said: "We were very concerned that extending the time before a new car's first MOT to four years would present a big threat to road safety.

"GEM welcomes the government decision to keep the first MOT at three years. We understand that hard-pressed motorists are always looking for ways to save money, but if this involves compromising safety then it would be false economy indeed."

RAC chief engineer David Bizley said: "We believe that the government's decision to stick with the first MOT being at three years is the right decision and one which will be welcomed by the majority of drivers and road safety campaigners.

"Our RAC breakdown data suggests that for the majority of vehicles, it would have been reasonable to move the date of a first MOT test from three to four years.

"However, for high-mileage vehicles, four years was too long before the first MOT and therefore it made sense to 'keep it simple' and retain the current three year arrangement."