When was the last time you looked under the hood of your car?
Frankly. Have you checked the oil, lights or brakes? Have you checked your tire tread? Or even inflate them?
I bet most, but not all, reading this are often full of good intentions. But there’s always something more pressing that gets in the way.
Testing time: MoT checking is essential to ensure the safety of all vehicles on our roads, but the government plans to move to checks every two years
That’s why the government’s controversial decision to consult on scrapping the MoT’s annual MOT in favor of less frequent checks – every two years instead of the current annual review – has created an outcry over road safety.
The biggest planned overhaul of the 63-year-old MoT system in decades will create thousands of “death traps on wheels”, according to safety activists and motoring groups.
Letting faults fester for another 12 months will simply lead to more breakdowns, crashes, deaths and injuries on UK roads, they warn.
They say maintaining the current annual check means that unseen problems and flaws can be nipped in the bud early.
Ministers are prepared to disagree. Modern high-tech cars are much more reliable than those of yesteryear.
And either way, with cash-strapped consumers facing a cost-of-living crisis, motorists will appreciate the added savings the change will bring.
Under controversial government plans, put out for consultation this month, vehicles would also only be required to undergo their first MoT test after four years instead of the current three.
The MoT test – the name derives from the initials of the former Ministry of Transport – was introduced in 1960 and was originally required ten years after a vehicle’s initial registration and then annually thereafter.
The gap between registration and the first test was reduced to three years in 1967 and since then, as the cars have developed, more and more safety-critical elements have been added: tires of superior quality in seat belts, wipers, body structure, exhaust emissions. , anti-lock brakes, airbags and electronic stability and control (ESC).
The current maximum MoT test fee for cars is £54.85, although garages can charge less and the average is £40, the Department for Transport says.
If faults are spotted, however, motorists should then plan for the cost of repair work which will result in a pass.
Ministers’ own assessment is that Britain’s 23,400 licensed test centers could lose around £123million a year in testing revenue, with motorists collectively saving up to £100million.
However, it could also lead to garage closures and job cuts. We can therefore expect the automobile industry to protest, given the volume of business it risks losing.
That said, I myself detected no tone about it from motorists – whether in my mailbag or elsewhere – or from drivers demanding that the annual MoT be removed or reduced in frequency.
Similar proposals have been considered over the years, most recently in 2017-18 when they failed to gain public support.
Five Most Common MoT Failures
What to do
So your own attitude to government consultation may well boil down to a simple choice: what do you value more: your money or your life?
AA Chairman Edmund King said moving from annual MoT tests to biennial tests would mean an increase in “death traps on wheels” because, with motorists driving 30,000 miles a year, bald tires and Worn brakes may not be checked: “There would be no independent checks on these cars.
While it’s true that cars are becoming safer off the production line, there are still fears that the change won’t benefit motorists or MoT test centers who will lose business. Everyone will say that the safety of motorists is paramount and that, logically, a gap of two years creates risks.
Mike Hawes, chief executive of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), said: ‘Lengthening MoT intervals will reduce the safety net and jeopardize the UK’s record of having some of the fastest roads safest in the world in exchange for a small saving, which could actually cost consumers more in the long run, as complex defects can develop over time.
RAC’s research also shows that most drivers disagree with the changes and believe they would be dangerous.
Also, most believe it would increase the likelihood of vehicles in poor condition on the roads, putting lives at risk and not even saving money, as it is likely that larger repair bills would be the result of a longer gap between MoTs.
Servicing is not a legal requirement for cars, so the purpose of the MoT is to provide drivers with the obligation to have their car inspected for MOT after three years of use.
On the flip side though, servicing is a requirement for most leases, which accounts for most new and near-new car registrations.
Launching its consultation, the Department for Transport said: “Ensuring the UK maintains its world-class road safety record is at the heart of the proposals. Data shows that most new vehicles pass the first MoT test at three years.
“With the number of casualties in car collisions due to vehicle defects remaining low, government analysis shows that the move from three to four years for the first MoT is unlikely to impact road safety.”
Undertaking a technical inspection four years after vehicle registration is already standard practice in many European countries, including Belgium, Denmark, France, Italy, Spain and Portugal, he said. .
The new consultation also addresses measures to improve emissions monitoring and asks whether electric car batteries should be tested for safety and reliability.
The government’s consultation exercise on MoT testing runs until March 1.
More details at: gov.uk/government/consultations
The dynamics of increasing the skills of motorists
It’s dangerous out there on the roads. And you can never learn enough behind the wheel, even after tearing up your L-plates.
I take every opportunity to improve my meager skills by spending time with experts who can help me improve my roadcraft. It is a great confidence builder and can help you get out of unexpected difficulties or alleviate problems if the worst should happen.
Tutored: Skid training is designed to make riders of all ages more confident in wet, muddy and icy conditions
Leading training course provider Driving experience.com offers two new packages designed to enhance driver abilities.
It is launching a safer driving course at Elvington Aerodrome in Yorkshire and relaunching a skid control package at North Weald Aerodrome in Essex.
The latter is designed to make riders of all ages and experience more confident in wet, muddy and icy conditions.
Their idea is that the courses will further reduce deaths on UK roads, which have steadily declined over the past decade.
Dan Jones, Director of Operations at drivingexperience.com, said: “Our aim is to help provide all drivers in the UK with the extra training they need to help them better prepare for the different testing conditions. which they will have to face.”
Although the UK is considered to have one of the safest roads in the world, over the past decade the improvement has slowed and reversed in some years.
The number of road deaths in the UK fell by 17.9% during the period, with Hungary, Bulgaria, the Netherlands and Romania being the only countries to do worse.
Norway, Europe’s top performer, reduced road fatalities by 52.4% over the same period.
Drivers tired of scratching by
UK drivers spend more than three hours each year defrosting their car windscreens and clearing ice, according to new research from Skoda UK. But you could risk an £80 fine.
After experiencing a new cold spell, more than a third of motorists spend on average between five and seven minutes defrosting their windscreen, while another in eight (13%) spends between eight and ten minutes.
Seeing clearly: More than a third of motorists spend an average of between five and seven minutes defrosting their windshield
The most common methods used to remove frost are: using the car’s heating system (63%); an ice scraper (57%) and a de-icer (44%). And one in eight (13%) admitted to using a bank card.
The researchers found that more than three-quarters turn on the engine and keep it running while their car is defrosting. Yet more than half of UK motorists are unaware they could face a fine of up to £80 for slowing down on a public road.
Change may be on the way, as Skoda’s all-electric Enyaq iV can be preconditioned to defrost the windshield, heat the cabin and prepare the battery in cold weather so it’s ready to drive for an hour programmed.
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