European MOT rules a road safety danger says IAM

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The IAM’s (Institute of Advanced Motorists) latest poll shows that 60 per cent of motorists think that a car’s first MOT should continue to be carried out after three years. Twenty-nine per cent think we should move to a European system.

But the question needs to be asked, why are so many cars in the UK failing at only three years, and why does France have a much better pass rate at four years?

The IAM’s latest poll shows that 60 per cent of motorists think that a car’s first MOT should continue to be carried out after three years. Twenty-nine per cent think we should move to a European system.

A new European Union directive sets down a minimum requirement for a vehicle roadworthiness test – the MOT – with the first test when the car is no more than four years old, and subsequent tests no more than two years apart. This is known as the four-two-two cycle. Most of Europe uses the directive’s minimum requirements of testing.

The UK has a more stringent cycle of testing – the first test when the car is three years old, followed by annual testing – a three-one-one cycle. Despite this, 27 per cent of three year old cars in the UK fail their first MOT test*. In France, where the test cycle is four-two-two, six per cent of cars fail the first test at four years old.

People are generally confident about the MOT test, with 63 per cent believing the test will always pick up potential dangers with the car or bike. Thirty per cent believe garages are not independent enough to conduct MOTs, 26 per cent think that garages deliberately find things wrong in order to get money out of them, and 40 per cent think there is no consistency between garages in the way they do the test. The IAM believes these concerns should be addressed through a review before the government considers any changes to MOT testing.

IAM chief executive Simon Best said: “In a time when people are struggling financially, the MOT seems to be one cost they are happy to pay. The IAM is wary of abandoning our well-established and accepted cycle of MOT testing. The poll suggests that most motorists are happy with it.

“But the question needs to be asked, why are so many cars in the UK failing at only three years, and why does France have a much better pass rate at four years? Before any change to the system, the government should commission a review to assure motorists that MOT tests are safe, reliable and consistent. The test should be for the benefit of road safety – not the garages that carry it out."

Notes for Editors:
1.    * Main test failures for cars three year old cars tested in 2007. FOI request

Tests Passed (First):
Total Failed Tests (First):
Conent Total Item Failures
Brakes
Drivers View of the Road
Fuel and Emissions
Lighting and Signaling
Registration Plates and VIN
Steering and Suspension
Tyres and Wheels

Total all failures

    2,106,946
580,754 (27%)

110,327
120,095
23,634
271,567
19,047
99,798
155,489

c836,000

2.    The IAM is the UK’s largest independent road safety charity, dedicated to improving standards and safety in driving, motorcycling and cycling. The commercial division of the IAM operates through its occupational driver training company IAM Drive & Survive. The IAM has more than 200 local volunteer groups and over 100,000 members in the UK and Ireland. It is best known for the advanced driving test and the advanced driving, motorcycling and cycling courses. Its policy and research division offers advice and expertise on road safety.

ENDS ALL
Media contacts:
IAM Press Office – 020 8996 9777
press.office(at)iam(dot)org.uk
ISDN broadcast lines available
iam.org.uk

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Caroline Holmes - Communications officer
IAM
020 8996 9777
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Ben Schofield - Communications manager
IAM
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