FRUSTRATIONS OF ALTERING MOT TESTING SCHEDULE TO 4-1-1

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MOT HORRORS

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So here we go again and, to be frank, my mind boggles. Why should any civil servant or minister want to consult on changes to the MOT testing schedule which will have negative connotations for safety?

This was debated, and successfully challenged, in the UK back in 2011! I would have thought there were far more important issues to be concerning our legislative currently.

Taxi/hire cars, in most cases, require two MOTs annually, and it is proposed that the status quo remains for LCVs. So what is different for privately-owned cars (often used for school runs) and fleet passenger cars covering significant mileage in a short space of time?

It can only be assumed that the consultation instigators recognise that LCVs and taxis do many miles above the average of a private vehicle, but currently there isn’t a way of tracking the mileage of private cars and other Class 4 vehicles.

This could also be said for motorcycles, many of which are used for courier work. Mileage tracking prior to the first MOT is easily achieved by introducing a mandatory mileage field at car tax renewal which would be the perfect platform for integrity-based mileage information.

The benefit this would deliver is that mileage correction (clocking) would become increasingly difficult. In the previous round of communications it was clear that Europe featured heavily and those discussions were centered on the UK being brought into line with European common practice. Yet still, at least as I am aware, I have not seen any consideration being made for the distance a vehicle has traveled.

Given a lesser state of road-worthiness is a consequence of more miles driven, it can only be assumed there is a lack of understanding by those still wishing to consult outside of our industry.

 

HORROR STORIES

IMG_7748Every MOT tester in the country can share a vehicle failure story bordering on unbelievable!

My business is based in what most would term as an ‘affluent’ area. Yet often we have cars presented to us with dreadful safety related defects – and our clients are completely unaware, even shocked, when the realisation of what could have happened hits home if it were not for the MOT test being carried out in a timely manner.

As I have written previously in this magazine, the MOT scheme is in need of overhaul and mileage should be at the top of the list in any considered change – particularly as service intervals are extended with the reality of less frequent workshop visits. MOT Comp has been an outstanding success; the DVSA and consulted bodies such as the IMI are to be congratulated.

In achieving this it should be acknowledged that there has been a slow cost transfer from what was VOSA (now DVSA) to the MOT test centre – computer terminals, printers, printer consumables including paper and ink cartridges being some of the expenses now borne by the entrees. These are not a life changing expenses but, nonetheless, it is a cost. Every business in the UK is facing significant increases in operating costs, rent reviews, business rates and the introduction of mandatory pension contributions for staff – not forgetting salary increase pressures too. Is it that time again when the long overdue fee increase is announced? The scrappage scheme removed many vehicles from the MOT test centre market, and a further decline in vehicle throughput, for whatever reason, will be most unwelcome! Every garage proprietor operating a business in the UK, particularly the South East of England, will testify that their operational viability is under extreme pressure. Is it any wonder we see retirement sales with valued, long-established local garages being closed and redeveloped. For motorists, vehicle occupants, pedestrians, cyclists and other road users, safety must be at the forefront of any decision to change the testing framework.

If you couple this with motor trade professionals potentially losing their jobs and the resultant decline in government tax receipts, the change being considered is flawed and unnecessary, and which could lead to another government burden! Let’s hope common sense will prevail once more and, whatever the permutation, be it 4-2-2, 4-1-1, or even 3-2-1 – let’s hope they are all consigned to the late Ted Rogers’ Dusty Bin!