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Government rejects move to four-year first MOT

The Department for Transport is maintaining the three-year first MOT for cars, vans and motorcycles after a consultation last year indicated safety concerns over an extra year’s exemption.

A public survey for DfT by Populus showed fewer than half of people were in favour of the MOT change.

Last year saw the DfT propose the four-year exemption – for both cars and possibly class 4 and class 7 vans, explaining that it would save motorists more than £100m a year, and would bring England, Scotland and Wales in line with Northern Ireland and many other European countries.

However, the subsequent consultation found many respondents were against the proposals on safety grounds, arguing that the savings to motorists were outweighed by the risk to road users and the test often highlights upcoming issues affecting the vehicle.

This was borne out by a public survey, which showed fewer than half of people were in favour of the change.

Roads Minister Jesse Norman said: “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 consultation also found there was a clear majority in favour of retaining the three year rule for all vans in class 4 and class 7.

The MOT was introduced in 1960 when vehicles were required to have their first check after 10 years. This was changed in 1967 to three years.

In 2016 – the most recent figures available – more than 2.4 million cars had their first MT test, with a pass rate of about 85%. The most common reasons for failure include lighting, tyres and braking faults.

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for 16 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day. As Business Editor, Natalie ensures the group websites and newsletters are updated with the latest news.