If a public consultation in 2018 is successful, it could mean that MOT rules are relaxed for new cars. Currently, a new car has a 3 year grace period before it needs to go through the annual safety and emissions test. However, in recognition of technology’s improving focus on safety standards, this could be set to change to 4 years.
Recent years have seen dramatic decreases of vehicle defects in new cars, with 2015 rates close to a third of the number seen in 2006. That is, only 57 cars aged 3 or 4 were involved in accidents contributed to by vehicle defects, in contrast to 155 less than a decade earlier. Such a small number suggests that new and used cars cannot be considered so closely in MOT terms, so the government is hoping to up the 3 year grace period as soon as possible.
This, of course, means good news for the motor trade, with an even greater incentive for consumers to buy new cars. Not only are drivers more likely to save on their insurance policy thanks to the excellent safety and security features of emerging technologies, they will also save on tax thanks to lower emissions, and possibly now even save on MOT costs in those initial years.
When the AA surveyed its members in 2016, they found that almost half of people (44%) supported a move to requiring MOTs after 4 years instead of 3. It was the winning verdict in the poll, as a quarter (26%) disagreed with the change, while the remaining 30% did not have an opinion on either side.
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However, while the move could save drivers the time, inconvenience and cost of an MOT, they could – like anyone else – face a penalty if their cars aren’t kept roadworthy. The MOT is a reliable way to check up on little details that drivers may not notice, such as a blown bulb or worn tyres. President of the AA, Edmund King, acknowledges these factors for and against the change. Drivers would need to remain aware and vigilant about the upkeep of their vehicles.
Andrew Jones, the Transport Minister, is fully supporting the move from 3 to 4 years, commenting that, “We have some of the safest roads in the world” and that thanks to the safety improvements on newer vehicles, “it is only right we bring the MOT test up to date”.
It’s not a startling suggestion, as the precedent elsewhere (Northern Ireland, Spain, France, and other European countries) has already been set at a 4 year delay for new cars.
And it’s not just domestic car drivers who would benefit; whether you’re driving with standard plates, trade plates, or even riding a motorbike, the rule would change for everyone.