I found out yesterday that the Government are planning at making changes to the MOT system. They intend to follow europe (yet again) and introduce the '4-2-2' system.
This means that a new car will not need an MOT for the 1st four years on the road, and then at 2 yearly intervals after that until the car is 8 yrs old, and then each year after that as per "normal".
The following is taken from the MOT testers website and IMO it makes scarey reading...
Proposed MOT changes will cause more death and injury on the roads!
(If you like facts and figures, here is a report prepared by John Ball for the MOT Trade Forum – How will 4-2-2 affect you?)
Britain currently has the safest roads in Europe – but not for much longer if Gordon Brown has his way.
Research clearly indicates that EU countries which comply with just the European MINIMUM level of ‘MOT’ Testing have higher accident rates.
Yet the government – announced by Gordon Brown himself – is proposing to reduce the level of MOT Testing being applied to UK vehicles to those over 4 years old, and then only every two years - the current EC MINIMUM requirement.
It is estimated that such a change could result in up to 100 more people dying every year on Britain’s roads as a result of vehicle defects – that’s in addition to the 3,000 people who already die every year as a result of road accidents.
There would, of course, also be an associated increase in the number of people suffering serious injuries during such accidents.
This is unsurprising given that 30% of vehicles fail the MOT each year, most on key safety related items – tyres, brakes and lights. That’s about 7.5 million cars and light commercial vehicles every year which at MOT time are unsafe. Just imagine the deleterious effect on road safety if those vehicles continued to be used on the roads without being tested for a further year!
The Government claim that as vehicles are now more reliable, they do not need to be Tested so often. That is appalling, naive and misguided logic; since when has a vehicle's reliability had any bearing on its road safety systems?
Indeed, research has shown that vehicle reliability is not linked to a vehicle’s roadworthiness in road safety terms.
Tyres do not affect reliability, brakes, lights, windscreens – all deteriorate over time, all affect road safety – but they do not affect reliability in the general sense at all. All are currently tested every year on vehicles over three years old – soon they may only be tested every two years, and after a further 10 or 20,000 miles have been put on the clock!
So why is this being proposed?
Mr Brown says it is to reduce regulation and save the motorist money. We have another theory: political expediency – buying votes. When motorists are being hit ever harder for fuel duty and road taxes, here's an opportunity to be seen to be generous and beneficent. But what are these votes costing?
Coming to the apparent financial cost savings in a minute, what will be the cost in motorist's lives?
The Davidson report
In December 2006 the Davidson report into Transport policy was published – this report was sponsored by the Government.
The issue of the MOT being changed to every two years was considered. In the report Davidson warned “In 2004, there were 3,221 deaths and 31,000 serious injuries in road accidents. Changing the MOT system could lead to a rise in these figures.” He also expressed concern that by changing the MOT to every two years, the general level of vehicle safety could fall, noting “Even drivers who do service their cars regularly may be driving with defects as the MOT test is more rigorous than some services in testing items such as brake efficiency and emissions. Furthermore some motorists only service their cars in order to pass the MOT.”
So a few hundred people extra die and a few thousand are injured on the roads – but we're saving money aren't we?
No Cost saving…
This proposal has been put forward as an example of cutting red tape and reducing costs to industry, and to the country more widely. This is a false claim. Whilst two-yearly MOTs would indeed save motorists about £25 each year, the overall cost to the country would be much more when the costs of increased road deaths and injuries are factored into the calculations – and there are other cost issues.
Increased insurance premiums
Insurance companies, aware of the inevitable increase in road accidents have indicated that following such a move, insurance premiums will rise.
The MOT industry currently employs perhaps 75,000 people directly, with many more dependant on the annual MOT test indirectly. Vehicle spares suppliers, general motor mechanics, the suppliers of equipment to garages.
Make a difference...
If these figures appall you, and we can't imagine why they wouldn't, you will want to take action to persuade the Government not to push through this legislation.
Write to your MP!
This is the most effective way of registering your protest. By using this link http://www.parliament.uk/directories/directories.cfm, you can access the website which gives you the name and address of your MP, who you can then contact to register your protest against this proposed change to the MOT.
To assist you to make a protest, we have put together a sample letter which can be used (copy and paste the following into your email browser).
Dear [your MP's name]
I am very concerned at the Government’s proposal to reduce the frequency of the MOT Test and by delaying the first Test a vehicle has by a year.
I believe that the current annual MOT Test is one of the main reasons for the UK's current excellent road safety record and that the proposed changes will inevitably result in a significant increase of un-roadworthy vehicles being used on the roads. I am very concerned that this will result in more deaths and injuries on the roads.
I would like you to make representations on my behalf to the Secretary of State for Transport to oppose this change.
or Contact the Department for Transport
Preferably in addition to the above, you can contact the Minister of State for Transport directly at the following e-mail address: Stephen.Ladyman@dft.gsi.gov.uk