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Four-year MOT exemption for new cars scrapped

Autocar logo Autocar 18/01/2018 Mark Tisshaw
Four-year MOT exemption for new cars scrapped © Autocar Four-year MOT exemption for new cars scrapped

A new car's first MOT will remain at the three-year point, after a Government proposal suggesting a car's first MOT should be after four years was scrapped with concerns over safety.

Following a public consultation, the decision, which was set to take effect later this year, has been overturned. Fewer than half of the public consulted were in favour, with the main concern being the safety risk involved in delaying the first MOT of a car until its fourth year.

The current three-year period needed before a car's first MOT was introduced in 1967, when it was reduced from 10 years. In the proposal, the Government said "safer technology and improved manufacturing" have resulted in "new vehicles that stay roadworthy for longer." 

Related: How to prepare your car for a MOT (PA Motoring)

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The government originally suggested the proposals would save motorists around £100 million per year, although responses in the public consultation asserted that the safety risk outweighed the potential saving.

The MOT test is undertaken by 2.4 million cars for the first time each year, with faulty lights the most common cause of these cars failing according to the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA). 

Roads Minister Jesse Norman said: “We have some of the safest roads in the world, and are always looking at ways of making them safer. 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.”

MOT testing station © Auto Express MOT testing station

The Government says that, since 2006, the number of accidents involving a three- or four-year-old vehicle where a defect in the vehicle was a contributing factor has fallen from 155 to 57 in 2015, a drop of almost two thirds.

The DVSA is running a campaign to ensure more motorists carry out basic maintenance on their cars that contribute to around half of MOT faults, such as faulty lights, windscreen wipers, low oil levels and tyres with low tread.

Announcing the proposals early last year, transport minister Andrew Jones said: "We have some of the safest roads in the world and MOT tests play an important role in ensuring the standard of vehicles on our roads. New vehicles are much safer than they were 50 years ago and so it is only right we bring the MOT test up to date to help save motorists money where we can."

Switching to a four-year period before a first MOT would have brought England, Wales and Scotland in line with Northern Ireland, and other European countries including France, Italy, Spain, Ireland, Denmark and Norway.

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Related: Great cars that will be tax and MOT-free (Motoring Research)

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