Plan to push back MOTs to every two years shelved by government

MOT tests will remain unchanged following a year-long review that could have extended them to once every two years and a vehicle’s first test to four years, the government has today announced.

The proposal had been part of making the test “fit for the future”, with ministers claiming it would not impact road safety due to “major developments in vehicle technology” while also saving UK motorists a combined £100 million per year in fees. 

According to government analysis, the number of casualties in car collisions due to “vehicle defects” has remained low. 

This sparked heavy debate from motoring groups, such as the AA and the RAC, which claimed axing annual tests would “put lives at risk” because it would “likely increase the number of unroadworthy vehicles on our roads”. 

Both motoring bodies warned against the extension of a first MOT to four years, saying that brakes and tyres – especially on high-mileage cars – often need repairs after three and that “one in 10 cars fail their first MOT”.

In response to the criticism, the government has climbed down from its proposals. Roads minister Guy Opperman said: “We have listened to drivers and industry, and keeping MOTs in their current form shows once again that we are on the side of motorists.”

As part of the announcement, the government also confirmed it would now look to “modernise” the test, including to make it fit for electric and autonomous vehicles.

Among the proposals are more effective tests for diesel particulate emissions, improving or altering MOTs for electric vehicles (such as battery tests) and the transfer of some larger zero-emission vans to more standard, car-style testing.

“Ensuring the MOT remains fit for the future is a key part of DVSA’s work, and getting ready for new technology will help keep Britain’s roads safe,” said Neil Barlow, head of vehicle policy at Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA).

The news was welcomed by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), the industry group that represents thousands of members across the country.

SMMT chief Mike Hawes said: “Government and the automotive industry have worked together to ensure the UK has some of the world’s safest roads. The decision to retain the existing MOT system is the right one.

“With vehicle technology continuing to evolve at pace in terms of both safety and environmental performance, we will maintain this collaboration with government and other stakeholders so that the MOT continues to be fit for purpose, helping Britain improve what is already a strong road safety record.”

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