MOTS Once Every Two Years? Disastrous, Says Retail Motor Industry Federation

'Gordon Brown's recent suggestion that the annual MOT test is little more than "red tape", and may be changed to once every two years, is seriously misguided, and would be disastrous for MOT testing stations,' said Ray Holloway, Director of the Independent Garage Association (IGA), part of the Retail Motor Industry Federation (RMIF), commenting on proposals contained in a CBI speech delivered by the Chancellor on 28th November.

In the UK cars must be tested at the end of their third year, then yearly after that.

Holloway continued: 'So-called "red tape" aside, the case for change does not stack up in several crucial areas, namely safety, environmental and cost.

'The UK has one of the best road safety records in Europe , thanks to the annual MOT test for older vehicles.  Newer vehicles require similar attention in order to maintain safe standards: in fact, Government figures state that around 18 per cent of them fail their first MOT test after three years.  With the current annual test comfortably in place, the MOT failure rate is over 30 per cent: that's almost eight million defective vehicles detected because they must go through this rigorous procedure. Imagine, around 50 per cent of all vehicles could be unfit for road use if only tested every two years!

'Another negative outcome will be a detrimental effect on environmental targets. Around 15 per cent of vehicles tested now fail a MOT because they do not meet emissions requirements: testing every two years can only lead to more seriously polluting vehicles staying longer on UK roads before being detected.

'Also, the Chancellor's words seem worryingly premature - the Department for Transport (DFT) is to consult all interested parties during 2007 on whether roadworthiness-testing of our vehicles should be done less frequently, with an assumption that this would save motorists money. We very much doubt this in the long-term - if older vehicles are not annually checked over, this may lead to more expensive long-standing problems for owners.'

He ended: 'The Treasury may even pick up a sizeable cost as this two-year proposal would be utterly disastrous for technicians employed as MOT testers.  The business owners at the sharp end - many of them SMEs in rural areas - would lose vital income and may not survive. What supportive message is this sending out to a UK economy already groaning under Government interference?

'The IGA is in discussion with both the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA) and the DFT on the appalling implications for the vehicle owners - as well as the MOT testing sector - should the Government's unrealistic plan be seriously considered.'

29 November 2006 Staff

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