At the moment vehicles in the UK are subject to a yearly inspection to check road-worthiness after the vehicle has been on the road for three years. The MOT tests include checking the brakes, steering, and tyres amongst other safety checks to make sure the car is safe to run on UK roads.
If a car fails its MOT, owners are unable to purchase road tax and insurance. However, this could all be subject to change as MOT testing plans are under review by the government, with the possibility being raised of tests every two years.
According to reports, the government is considering relaxing the rules of MOT tests, despite warnings from adversaries that a move could lead to an extra fifty road deaths each year. A study commissioned by the government found that reducing the frequency of MOT test were “likely to have adverse road safety consequences“, especially for older cars.
Research from the Transport Research Laboratory has estimated that defects on vehicles are a contributing factor to road accidents each year by 3%. Motoring groups predict that having an MOT test every two years could see a rise in deaths each year on the roads.
The Government is thinking of changing the system with a car having its first MOT once it hits the age of four years old, and then only every two years until it reaches the age of ten before reverting to every year again. These changes are being proposed to help the financial burden on motorists, but have been condemned by garages who are worried about seeing their income halved.
However a spokesman for a motoring organisation opposed to the proposal is more concerned about the safety issues surrounding un-roadworthy vehicles being allowed on UK roads. He said that there is serious concern in the fact that a car can pass its MOT but then develop a fault quickly, and it not to be found for two years is a ‘big risk’.
Currently over 23 million vehicles in the country need an annual MOT test with a failure rate of at least 35%. Three years ago the last Prime Minister Gordon Brown abandoned plans to relax the system after changes were found to increase injuries and deaths.
Many motorists only take their vehicle into a garage when it’s time for an MOT check, and it is only then their vehicle gets any sort of safety check. There is also the fact problems that are found at this time can be rectified early and save money in the long run.
By Ben Malkin
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