NTDA: industry united against MOT changes
Writing in an article published on the association’s website, the NTDA has warned that Phillip Hammond’s recent incendiary decisions regarding MOT frequency look likely to have galvanised the industry against the proposals. In an article not dissimilar to an open letter National Tyre Distributor Association representatives wrote: “If Transport Secretary Philip Hammond was looking to provoke a reaction when he suggested that the interval between MOT tests should be extended, then he succeeded beyond his wildest dreams, as the idea has been universally condemned by industry bodies, trade associations and consumer organisations.”
The article continued: “Hammond’s point of view is that car technology has advanced since the 1960s, when the rules were introduced, and that servicing periods have steadily lengthened. As such, he is believed to favour a regime where the first MOT test will take place when the car is four years old and every other year thereafter; the so-called 4.2.2. option. Hammond says that adopting this system, which is common in mainland Europe, would save the motorist money.”
However, one of the sternest critics of 4.2.2. is the NTDA and director Richard Edy believes that Philip Hammond is missing the point. While it is true that cars have become more reliable, components such as tyres are still subject to constant wear. Indeed, lower profile tyres and more powerful vehicles accelerate wear rates.
Tyres a particular focus
What evidence is there that tyres are so neglected? Firstly the NTDA quotes figures from the Tyre Industry Federation (TIF) that show that 12 per cent of tyres are illegal when they are replaced. Secondly, the NTDA points out that under the present 3.1.1. MOT system, there are already 2.3 million tyre-related MOT failures every year.
“A move to 4.2.2. would inevitably lead to more tyre-related failures and an increase in accidents, injuries and fatalities. Already, 216 people are killed or seriously injured every year in cases where tyre defects are reported and this figure would be bound to rise. Tyres are a safety-critical component of a vehicle and the only things that keep a car on the road. You can have the best brakes in the world, but if the tyres are bald and the road is wet, then your car won’t stop,” Richard Edy commented.
The NTDA strenuously argues that 4.2.2. would mean more unsafe vehicles on UK roads and more casualties, but what about other effects? “A poorly-maintained vehicle means increased pollution and it is a fact that many motorists only have their car serviced just before an MOT test. Adopting 4.2.2. would mean two years between services for these cars with no checks or adjustments.”
Philip Hammond says that one of his aims is to save the motorist money. The current maximum charge for a car MOT, set by VOSA, is £54.85, although many offer MOTs at less than half this price. According to the NTDA, by moving from 3.1.1. to 4.2.2., over the first six years of a car’s life, motorists would save the cost of two tests, or just over £100. Addressing this, the association making a suggestion of its own: if the government wants to save motorists money then they should reduce the duty imposed on petrol and diesel. Another economic factor to consider is the effect of 4.2.2. on the aftermarket, with a reduction in the number of tests being carried out leading to an increase in redundancies and business failures.
Summing up, Richard Edy said: “Practically everyone involved in the vehicle aftermarket is dead set against 4.2.2. Its introduction would seriously compromise safety on our roads – the trade doesn’t want it, the motoring public doesn’t want it and motoring organisations such as the AA and RAC are against it. I am at a loss to know why we are even considering the introduction of such a retrograde step.”