Don’t forget your MOT – RMI, SMTA

The Retail Motor Industry Federation (RMI) and Scottish Motor Trade Association (SMTA) are seeking to survey their members and the motor industry to assess the impact of the Government’s latest changes to road tax on the annual MOT test. Both organisations have concerns that following the removal of the paper tax disk and the introduction of monthly direct debits to pay road tax, motorists are unintentionally breaking the law by forgetting to MOT their cars.

Although a road tax reminder is sent to those who pay annually, often acting as a reminder that the car is probably due for an MOT, no such reminders are sent to those who pay monthly. Whilst this is clearly a benefit in keeping your car taxed – and the Exchequer’s coffers topped up – it may have new and far more serious consequences.

Motorists driving without an MOT can be fined up to £1,000, but more importantly, if a car hasn’t been examined it could be a danger on the road to its driver and passengers, as well as other road users and pedestrians.

Research in 2013 revealed that a third of motorists have admitted to driving a car without a valid MOT test. The RMI and SMTA believe that this figure is likely to have risen due to the road tax changes.

The new survey will unearth whether the industry has seen a rise in the number of people that have forgotten to MOT their car. If the findings match current concerns, the RMI and SMTA will lobby the Government on the grounds of road safety.

Stuart James, RMI director comments: “The annual MOT test is vital to road safety, and the Government hasn’t considered this implication when introducing the new road tax changes. By creating a survey we can see if any damage has already been done, and lobby to prevent further unsafe cars on the road.”

Sandy Burgess, SMTA chief executive adds: “Motorists must be reminded when their MOT is due so that they don’t pose a danger to themselves and others on the road. We expect the results of this survey will show the Government that they need to recognise the effects of the changes to road tax by providing a new service to remind car owners when their MOT is due.”

On Tuesday, 12 April, James and Burgess attended a meeting with Drew Hendry MP, Scottish National Party (SNP) transport spokesperson in the House of Commons. Their joint industry focus was to highlight the potential impacts from a move to a 4-1-1 MOT system for new cars, as well as draw attention to the issue around drivers unwittingly breaking the law by driving vehicles that have not been presented for MOT.

Hendry was very interested in the points made and further agreed to meet with them to review the outcome of this survey, with a view to supporting the industry argument and taking it forward for debate with the UK Government.

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