Should the MOT threshold be extended? The government wants your thoughts
The government is questioning future MOT regulations and wants to know what you think about it.
The MOT test has been in place since 1960, with a three-year threshold remaining for new cars since 1967.
However, for the first time in fifty years, the government is seriously considering changing this law – by extending the threshold from three to four years.
In addition, the current law for annual MOTs on light goods vehicles is also being questioned, with the government suggesting it could be extended to every two years.
Rather than push through the changes immediately, the Department of Transport wants to know what British motorists think – with a survey about the future of the MOT.
This survey is part of a wider study into the MOT’s future as cars evolve, more British motorists opt for electric powertrains, and revolutionary technology such as driverless modes become more commonplace.
In light of this, it is the government’s view that MOT laws could quickly become outdated.
Given that today’s roads are increasingly filled with self-parking electric family cars which out-accelerate supercars – rather than Ford Cortina’s that would struggle to hit 100mph – this news is hardly surprising.
Nevertheless, current MOT laws have been around for half a century. These proposed changes remind motorists why these existing rules are in place and whether altering them could render British roads unsafe.
Extending the MOT threshold for new cars from three to four years and every two years thereafter makes it more likely that potentially dangerous mechanical issues remain hidden from the owner.
Anyone who has expected their car to fly through an MOT, only to be shocked by the discovery of worn brake pads or threadbare tyres, understands how easily these issues can be disguised.
Others may argue that modern cars are so sophisticated and well-screwed together that having to abide by outdated rules that were drawn up for relatively humble machines is no longer necessary.
Indeed, given that many European nations have already introduced a four-year threshold without any issues, it is easy to sympathise with this perspective.
Of course, there is also the question of revenue.
If motorists only need to have their new car MOT’d after four years, garages up and down the country will lose huge amounts of business, which isn’t good news for the British car industry or the economy.
Furthermore, although the threshold question is the headline alteration, there are other areas of roadworthiness testing that government officials are examining.
For instance, the government is eager to crack down on emissions – with the testing of diesel particulate filters coming under the spotlight.
These filters (which are housed within the exhaust system and prevent solid emissions from exiting the vehicle) may have been subject to MOT testing since 2014, but it is easy for faulty filters to fly under the radar.
Proposed changes would bring in PN testing, which is a more stringent way of checking the health of a diesel particulate filter. The government claims that this is already used to great effect by other nations and would help reduce overall emissions nationally.
So, what are your thoughts? Are these proposals a natural evolution to British transport law as automotive technology improves, or is this a dangerous precedent?
Tell the Department of Transport your thoughts by answering this survey.