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Why keeping the three-year MOT test interval is crucial

Why keeping the three-year MOT test interval is crucial

Road Safety Manager for England, Rebecca Guy, considers why it’s so necessary that MOT tests retain their three-year MOT interval period, and looks to the future of vehicle checks in a modern landscape….

Following the Government consultation last year regarding modifications to current rulings on mandatory MOT checks, RoSPA has applauded the decision to retain the three-year interval for the first MOT test.

Our stance on this matter was made clear during the consultation period, when we voiced concerns about the potential compromise in safety if vehicles were not subjected to testing within the initial three years of registration.  RoSPA firmly believes that the modest cost of an MOT is a small price to pay for ensuring road safety.

Data released by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) in 2021[i], showed 13 per cent of cars fail their first MOT at three years, equating to a surprising 280,000 vehicles. This staggering statistic underscores the importance of timely testing as it is a fundamental method of identifying and rectifying vehicle defects that could otherwise contribute to collisions.

While it's true that modern vehicles boast enhanced reliability and incorporate advanced technologies that can mitigate collision risks, it’s important to note that these improvements do not offset the risk of an increased number of incidents due to unroadworthy vehicles. The safety of our roads should not be compromised for the sake of assuming that technological advancements alone can suffice.

Some argue that deferring the MOT to four years would be more cost-effective, but this perspective overlooks the potential downsides. Defects that would have been identified and repaired during the three-year MOT could go unnoticed until the four-year mark, and this delay would not only raise the likelihood of increased repair costs but also increase the probability of exposing drivers to inflationary price rises. Moreover, over the course of a year, an undetected defect is likely to worsen – they rarely improve on their accord - compounding the risks on our roads.

Consequently, we are encouraged by the Government's commitment to exploring fresh ways to modernise the MOT test, especially given the evolving and everchanging landscape of our road networks and vehicle types.

As we witness the emergence of new technologies that could make vehicles partially autonomous, it becomes imperative to further develop and adapt the MOT test to accommodate these changes. Our commitment to road safety must remain unwavering, and we look forward to a future where advancements in vehicle technology align seamlessly with measures to ensure the safety of all road users.




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