The Department for Transport claims that motorists would save more than £100 million a year if cars underwent their first MOT after four years instead of three, however some see a downside to the recently proposed changes. Relaxing the inspection timetable may, believes TyreSafe, result in more vehicles taking to the road with worn tyres.
While the UK shares the three-year inspection requirement with several other European countries, including Germany, the Netherlands, Austria, Finland and Sweden, the DfT views the proposed extension announced by Transport Minister Andrew Jones as a means of bringing UK regulations “in line” with those in Northern Ireland and parts of Europe that first test vehicles after four years. For Jones, a change would acknowledge decades of improvement in vehicle design and construction: “New vehicles are much safer than they were 50 years ago and so it is only right we bring the MOT test up to date to help save motorists money where we can.”
TyreSafe acknowledges that new vehicles are inherently safer than those built half a century ago, however the association believes the proposed changes downplay the role consumable items, and tyres in particular, play in road safety.
“Extending the time until the first MOT test has been proposed several times in recent years and each time it has been rejected because of the negative impact on road safety,” comments TyreSafe Chairman Stuart Jackson. “While, of course, vehicles are certainly safer and more reliable than they were 50 years ago, ‘maintenance components’, such as tyres, still need the owner to regularly check and service their vehicle, which is not universally the case by any means.”
Jackson bases his comments on the results of the tread depth survey TyreSafe carried out in partnership with Highways England; the results suggest that millions of Britain’s motorists don’t check or maintain their vehicles’ tyres, and only replace them when required to do so in order to pass the MOT. “Even then, one in twenty vehicles fails its first MOT due to tyre defects (according to Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency figures), making it likely that any extension of time until the first MOT test will result in more defective and dangerous tyres and vehicles on our roads.
“Extending the first MOT to four years will not be a boost to motorists if it is at the expense of their safety,” concludes the TyreSafe chairman. “As such, TyreSafe is urging road safety organisations to send in their comments on the proposal.”
Subject to the public consultation, the proposed changes could come into effect in 2018.
Category: UK News