IAAF urges government to keep MOT frequency at 3-1-1 in safety push

The Independent Automotive Aftermarket Federation (IAAF) has urged new Secretary of State for Transport, Mark Harper, not to mess with the current MOT frequency.

Instead, the industry body suggests the government looks to strengthen the current 3-1-1 practice through the addition of testing a vehicle’s electronically-controlled safety systems, such as the advanced driver-assistance system (ADAS).

Plans were made, and successfully fought off, that could have seen the first MOT for a vehicle come in at four years, instead of three. The IAAF, along with UK AFCAR, is actively highlighting to ministers and their departments the dangers involved if the first MOT is conducted when the vehicle becomes four years old and the risks this creates that then threaten road safety, especially when it comes to electric vehicles (EVs).

MOT frequency crucial to UK road safety

The IAAF argues that any extension to the test frequency will lead to an increase in road accidents and fatalities as there will be no formal inspection of a vehicle’s road worthiness for a further 12 months. 

For example, MOT failures are disproportionately high for EVs when they are first tested at three years, due to their increased tyre wear. While EVs are kinder on some wear-and-tear items, such as the braking system, their heavier nature means tyre wear is expected to be much higher, especially if non-EV specific tyres are fitted.

With sales of EVs increasing rapidly, it is likely that more and more vehicles will find their way into independent garages in the coming years. The need to safeguard the MOT to look after these new vehicles and technologies will become more crucial.

Additionally, there will not be any official mileage or emissions checks recorded until after four years across all new vehicles. Furthermore, delaying vehicle inspections may lead to higher repair costs for motorists who may not know that dangerous faults are developing with their vehicles.

This last point is also being made following recent coverage of potential MOT frequency changes. Former transport secretary Grant Shapps suggested earlier this year that the annual test move to a 3-2-2 pattern, to help drivers reduce their bills as the cost-of-living crisis continues to bite. Despite pressure from the automotive aftermarket, ministers failed to confirm or deny whether the plans were under consideration.

Since then, the country has seen two new Prime Ministers, and therefore two new cabinets, neither of which have shown any intention of putting the plans to consultation, but have not also formally disregarded them. 

Changes not backed

Mark Field, IAAF chief executive, said: “The DVSA’s regulation of the MOT process and current testing frequency of 3-1-1 help to make the UK’s roads the second safest in Europe and while we look forward to working with the new ministers across both Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and Department for Transport (DFT), we will fight any detrimental changes that threaten road safety and the automotive aftermarket.”

“Recent research from the RAC has shown that the majority of motorists consider that the UK MOT test is important for road safety and should not be changed and the wider industry is also firmly opposed to the idea of any changes to the 3-1-1 format.”

The survey conducted by the RAC last month shows that 55% of the 1,435 respondents felt changing the MOT to every two years was a bad idea. Just 22% said they thought it was a good idea while a similar proportion (23%) were unsure.

Respondents also overwhelmingly stated that a two-yearly MOT would be a bad idea due to the increase in unsafe vehicles on roads, echoing the complaints of the aftermarket. A total of 98% highlighted this issue, while 20% thought it would lead to an increase in the number of collisions on the road.  Almost two-thirds (61%) believe it would result in more vehicles breaking down.

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