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Transport Secretary Justine Greening spoke yesterday about the government’s intentions to retain the annual MOT tests and abandon plans for less frequent testing.
In a proposal set out last month, the government was considering opting to replace the current 3-1-1 MOT scheme, where cars and vans are tested after the first three years and every year onwards, to a 4-2-2 system. This would mean that vehicles would only be tested after the first four years and then biannually from then onwards.
The new system is currently in place throughout most EU countries, but its initiation in the UK would see tens of thousands of people who work in dealerships and independent service outlets, at risk of losing their jobs. Another fear was that with fewer motorists paying for an annual service, there is an increased risk of vehicles becoming less safe on the roads.
The government proposal faced strong opposition from leading trade bodies and organisations to include the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA), who pointed out that at the end of March 2010, a total of 816,839 vehicles contained defects which were considered dangerous by MOT testers.
MB&G Insurance’s managing director, David McPhee has welcomed the government’s decision to keep the annual MOT. He said: “In these tough economic times, motorists are trying to save money wherever they can, and unfortunately one of the first places they look to do this is on vehicle maintenance and repairs. We have already seen the AA reporting fewer people servicing their cars, so we are relieved to hear the government has decided to keep the 3-1-1 system.
“Drivers need to be aware that skipping services and not keeping their vehicle well maintained is a false economy at the end of the day. The annual MOT test and regular servicing can save a simple defect ending up in a costly or even deadly accident.”
Road safety charity, Brake, has also welcomed the government’s decision, having joined forces with more than 30 other organisations as part of the Pro-MOTecampaign which highlighted that reducing the frequency of MOT tests to two years could result in an extra 250 road deaths each year and 2,200 serious injuries.
Julie Townsend, Brake deputy chief executive, said: “This is very welcome news from the Transport Secretary. The annual MOT is vital to road safety, and the government has recognised that; reducing its frequency would have inevitably meant more lives needlessly lost and more terrible injuries. As a charity that supports people who have been bereaved or injured on roads, we know only too well the appalling devastation that results from poor vehicle maintenance.”