Fleet News

Concerns raised over MOT test proposals

Fleets will have the chance to comment on any changes to the MOT test once the Government launches its official review.

The Department for Transport (DfT) told Fleet News that it has yet to launch its formal review or its subsequent timescale.

However, it is expected to reveal its proposals in the coming weeks after changes to the MOT test were first mooted last year.

“The MOT test plays an important role in making sure vehicles are roadworthy and should strike the right balance between vehicle safety and the burden imposed on motorists,” said road safety minister Mike Penning. “We intend to undertake a review of the MOT testing regime, but have made no decisions about any changes to the system.”

However, that hasn’t stopped Secretary of State for Transport Phillip Hammond suggesting a reduction in the frequency in MOT testing to four years for a new vehicle and then every two years thereafter.

The change would have a greater impact on fleets running vans, rather than just cars, as the operating cycle for light commercial vehicles (LCVs) usually goes beyond the typical three-years/60,000 miles for cars.

As a result, commercial pricing expert CAP claims that a reduction in the frequency of MOT testing for LCVs could threaten road safety and seriously damage residual values.

John Watts, of CAP, said the typically arduous operating cycles of vans means a reduction in frequency would be potentially dangerous, lead to more poor condition vans in the marketplace and ultimately damage buyer confidence.

“If a vehicle appears for sale at around 42 months old having never yet gone through an official MOT, buyers will have no independent indication of its mechanical condition,” he said.

“They will, therefore, assume the worst and bid lower accordingly. The same situation could then apply in alternate years whenever there has been no MOT carried out for more than a year.”

In November 2008, the DfT published the MOT scheme evidence-base which concluded the frequency of testing should remain unchanged, because to change would result in more road deaths.

Evidence used suggested that a move to 4-2-2 would result in a tripling of road deaths from 177 to 523 per annum; an increase in serious injury from 1,088 to 3,210; and an increase in slight injury accidents from 5,687 to 16,770. This would result in an estimated rise in cost of between £664 million and £1.9 billion per year.

Furthermore, the report highlighted the fact that the UK has the safest roads in the European Union after Sweden, with 6.1 deaths per 100,000 of population. Holland – which also has a 3-1-1 test system – is the next lowest at 6.2 deaths per 100,000.

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