BUSINESS drivers could be put at risk under a new European directive that makes the MOT test a requirement after four years, not three – when 27% of new vehicles fail their MOT at three years.
The European Union directive requires a vehicle roadworthiness test – the MOT – at four years old, and subsequent tests no more than two years apart – four-two-two cycle. Most of Europe uses the directive’s minimum requirements of testing.
The UK has a more stringent cycle of testing – the first test when the vehicle is three years old, followed by annual testing – a three-one-one cycle. Despite this, 27 per cent of three year old cars in the UK fail their first MOT test yet in France, where the test cycle is four-two-two, six per cent of vehicles fail the first test at four years old.
However, a poll by the IAM found that 60 per cent of motorists think a vehicle’s first MOT should continue to be carried out after three years while 29 per cent were in favour of a European system.
IAM chief executive Simon Best said: “In a time when people are struggling financially, the MOT seems to be one cost they are happy to pay. The IAM is wary of abandoning our well-established and accepted cycle of MOT testing.
“But the question needs to be asked, why are so many vans in the UK failing at only three years, and why does France have a much better pass rate at four years? Before any change to the system, the government should commission a review to assure motorists that MOT tests are safe, reliable and consistent. The test should be for the benefit of road safety – not the garages that carry it out.”
In another change to the MOT, magazine Auto Express warns that business drivers could be hit with big MOT repair bills because equipment like electric seat adjustment motors and factory-fitted tyre pressure monitoring systems (TPMS) have been added to the Department for Transport’s road worthiness test.
ESC will become mandatory on new vehicles from 1 November 2012. But the new MoT rules, which make it compulsory for these systems to be in working order, won’t just apply to new vehicles or systems that came as standard, they will apply to any vehicle that has them fitted.
The magazine reported that replacement ESC system could cost as much as £2000, while a TPMS system could cost up to £500.
The new MOT rules apply retrospectively, rather than to vans registered from 1 January 2012 when the changes to the MOT commence. AA President Edmund King said: “We think it’s right that the MoT test keeps up with technology – that’s a move in the right direction. But if you look at technology legislation, you are normally given a date from which it applies.”