About a year ago, we brought news of a government proposal to extend the period before a new car has to undergo its first MOT. Well, the consultation on that proposal closed in April and, after nine months of deliberation, the Government announced it had abandoned the policy.
Currently, a new car does not need to take an MOT until it is three years old. The Government plan had planned to extend that to four years, based on the fact that ‘New cars are much safer than they were 50 years ago’. The change would have saved new car owners the cost of a single MOT – roughly £45 on average.
Road safety concerns
However, of the 1,700 respondents to the consultation, 74% were opposed to the change. The Government reports that many people – especially those who work in the testing industry – raised concerns about the impact on road safety.
The Government also commissioned a poll of people across the country who do not work in a garage or the MOT industry more widely. That poll found that 43% of the public were in favour of extending the period before the first MOT to four years, with 32% being against it.
That was not sufficient public support for ministers to go ahead with the change. Jesse Norman, the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Roads said that, "Although modern cars are better built and safer than when the MOT test was last changed 50 years ago, there has been a clear public concern that any further changes don’t put people’s lives at risk.’ He concluded: ‘I do not consider it right to take [the proposed changes] forward at this time."
Will there be MOT changes in the future?
However, Norman did suggest that this is not the end of the matter for MOTs. ‘While the changes proposed in this consultation will not be taken forward at this time, further research will take place sometime in the future' he said. ‘This work will help to ensure that the MOT test remains robust and appropriate to the evolving needs of the road transport sector.’
This is a small but essential reminder that government consultations are not a simple rubber-stamping exercise. Your responses can help to shape national policy. We always try to highlight the most relevant ones for fleets and drivers on this blog, but you can also find links to all the Government’s open consultations here.