Controversial plans to delay MOTs SCRAPPED

The Department for Transport on Thursday morning confirmed its proposal to make owners get MOTs every two years rather than one - and to delay a car's first MOT from the third year to the fourth - has been ditched.

The contentious initiative spun up by former Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Transport Secretary Grant Shapps promised to collectively save British motorists £100million a year as the cost-of-living crisis started to bite.

It would have been the biggest shake-up of MOTs for decades, but experts warned it trigger more deaths and injuries on the road.

Mr Johnson, Mr Shapps and the DfT in April 2022 argued that advances in vehicle technology, such as with electric cars and lane-assisted driving, mean the annual MOT, which has been in place since 1960, is no longer needed.

They also claimed motorists would collectively save millions by paying for a check-up once every two years rather than one.

A consultation was launched in January 2023 but prompted major concerns from motoring bodies that more cars, vans and motorbikes could be driving around with brakes and tyres which do not meet minimum legal requirements and could therefore cause a rise in crashes.

Experts said delaying the annual roadworthiness check would see faults on vehicles build-up over time and potentially become more expensive to fix later down the line.

Analysis from the AA suggests that an annual MOT can potentially save drivers between £200 and £400 as picking up developing faults each year means drivers aren’t hit with higher repair bills at a later date.

Ministers were also warned of the economic impact of the decision to delays MOTs, which would have seen thousands of garages that rely on revenue from the annual checks potentially go bust.

Sector representatives said the move would have starved Britain's 23,400 approved test centres of up to £123.6million a year.

When confirming it is retaining existing MOT schedules, the DfT this week added it will 'further investigate' how to ensure the test is fit for the future.

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Roads Minister Guy Opperman said: 'We have listened to drivers and industry, and keeping MOTs in their current form shows once again that we are on the side of motorists.

'By offering clarity on MOT tests, alongside our recent street works consultation and unprecedented £8.3 billion to resurface roads, we are helping motorists drive with peace of mind and ensuring Britain’s roads continue to be some of the safest in the world.'

Neil Barlow, head of vehicle policy at DVSA, added: 'Ensuring the MOT remains fit for the future is a key part of DVSA’s work, and getting ready for new technology will help keep Britain's roads safe. 

'We hope this positive news will provide some certainty for garages to enable the investment in new technologies that could be needed to keep the MOT at the forefront of road safety and the environment.'

Jakob Pfaudler, CEO at the AA, welcomed the decision to scrap a delay to MOTs, saying 83 per cent of its members polled 'overwhelmingly supported' the annual test to be retained to keep cars and road users safe.

It was the motoring group that had warned in early 2023 that any decision to extend MOT schedules would see 'thousands of vehicles becoming death traps on wheels'. 

'With one in 10 cars failing their first MOT, we fully support the Government’s pragmatic decision to maintain the first MOT at three years and annually thereafter,' Pfaudler said.

While four in five AA members quizzed were against delaying MOTs, MailOnline readers voted differently.

In our poll of almost 5,500 readers, 57 per cent voted in favour of MOTs becoming biennial. 

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive representing UK car manufacturers, said the decision to retain the existing MOT system is 'the right one' and will help Britain 'maintain its proud record of having some of the world's safest roads'.

IAM RoadSmart director of policy and standards, Nicholas Lyes, said: 'An MOT gives drivers confidence their vehicle is conforming to minimum roadworthiness standards, and many see it as an essential technical health check. 

'Well-maintained vehicles make our roads safer and reduce the chances of collisions caused by worn-out parts and more serious defects.

'We welcome the Government listening to drivers and prioritising both road safety and emissions as part of this package of announcements.'

RAC head of policy Simon Williams welcomed the DfT's statement as 'great news', describing the proposal to delays MOTs as a 'madcap idea' that has duly been 'consigned to the bin'.

He told us: 'This would have seriously compromised road safety and ended up costing drivers more money rather than less as it was supposed to do, due to dangerous issues going undetected and getting progressively worse. 

'This is why the idea was so widely unpopular with the motoring public in our research.'

Stuart James, chief executive of the Independent Garage Association in Britain said existing MOT schedules are 'paramount for providing public safety'.

It had collected over 11,000 signatures from concerned members and individuals about the proposals officially put forward in January 2023. 

Graham Stapleton, chief executive of Halfords said the Government's MOT proposal 'would have cost lives' and a decision not to go ahead should be seen as a 'victory for road safety'.

He added: 'We are seeing more and more vehicles come into our garages at MOT with tyres that are below the legal minimum tread. Far from rowing back on road safety we should be doing all we can to encourage and enable motorists to keep their vehicles in a roadworthy condition.'

e a probe - with the support of the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (which is responsible for MOTs) - into how to better monitor diesel car emissions to understand if more needs to be done to 'ensure that diesel vehicles comply with emissions regulations'.

The DfT added it will also continue to observe the availability of next-generation technological developments that could require an altered MOT, such as the arrival of Advanced Driver Assistance Systems, including self-driving autonomous features.