Changing MOT every two years seen as a dangerously bad idea by drivers

Possible government plans to change the annual MOT to every two years have raised serious concerns among drivers about safety.

Many drivers believe a shift to a biennial MOT cycle would increase the number of unsafe vehicles on the road

The idea was floated earlier this year by then-Transport Secretary Grant Shapps at a cabinet meeting to look at ways to counter the cost-of-living crisis but without cost to the Government.

While the Department for Transport has not revealed any plans, the RAC believes the idea is still on the table under Anne-Marie Trevelyan, appointed as the UK’s transport chief under Liz Truss’ administration.

And it’s warned that many drivers believe a shift to a biennial MOT cycle will lead to a rise in the number of unsafe vehicles on the road.

More than half (55%) of the 1,435 drivers surveyed by the RAC said they felt changing the MOT every two years was a bad idea. Only a fifth (22%) thought it was a good idea while a similar proportion (23%) were unsure.

When asked why they felt it was a bad idea, the overwhelming majority (98%) said it would lead to more unsafe vehicles on the road while a fifth (20%) thought it would increase the number of collisions on the road. Almost two-thirds (61%) believe it would result in more vehicles breaking down.

Interestingly, drivers were also not convinced about the possible money-saving benefits. More than half (58%) said the changes could end up costing drivers more in the long run due to problems or defects going undetected and becoming more costly to repair, while 44% believed it might cause garages to put prices up for other repairs to compensate for lost earnings from doing less MOT work.

The UK’s MOT system has been in place across the UK since 1960 and requires a car to be tested three years after its first registration and thereafter on an annual basis. The scope of the test has been expanded over the years to include additional checks, such as vehicle emissions, while the test itself underwent a major change in May 2018 with the move away from a simple pass or fail with advisories, to a new five- category system.

RAC head of roads policy Nicholas Lyes said: “There is a real danger that if the Government proceeds with these proposals that we could see an increase in the number of collisions and more injuries and deaths due to more unroadworthy vehicles using our roads, and an overall reduction in road safety. We’ve written to the new Secretary of State for Transport and urged her to consign this idea to the bin and look at other ways to help cash-strapped drivers reduce their motoring costs.”

  • Drivers have also been warned of a surge in cars and vans needing MOTs this autumn and have been advised to “book early to avoid stress”. More than 10 million car, van and minibus MOTs are expected to take place throughout this ‘Frantic Fall’, due to the disruption caused by Covid-19 and the resulting MOT extension.

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