Government retains MOT test regime and backs codes of practice

01 February 2012 #SMMT News

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) has welcomed government’s announcement that it will retain the existing frequency of the MOT test and encourage garages to subscribe to industry codes of practice. The decision ensures that road safety, consistency of service, quality assurance and consumer confidence in the automotive service and repair industry will be maintained and enhanced.

The key outcomes of the review include:

  • Retaining the existing test frequency.
  • Working with industry codes of practice to raise standards.
  • Tightening regulation in the second-hand vehicle market.

“Industry welcomes the decision by government to retain the existing MOT test regime, supporting the need to keep road safety a top priority,” said Paul Everitt, SMMT Chief Executive. “Government will encourage garages to take up industry codes of practice to ensure a consistent and high quality approach to testing, thereby building consumer confidence and satisfaction. Industry will continue to work with the OFT-backed consumer protection scheme, Motor Codes, to play its part in improving standards across the service and repair sector.”

Transport Secretary, Justine Greening, said, “Our garages are crucial to ensuring that Britain’s roads continue to be among the safest in the world. Most are doing good work but the latest data shows that there is room for improvement.

“I want each motorist to be confident that a visit to the garage ends with their car repaired to a high standard by reputable mechanics rather than uncertainty about cost and the quality of service.

The MOT test plays a crucial role in maintaining the standards of vehicles on UK roads. In the UK, new cars complete an MOT test three years after purchase and annually thereafter. Last year there was an 8% reduction in the number of people killed or seriously injured on UK roads and thanks to stringent vehicle testing, the UK has some of the safest roads in Europe.

SMMT and its members are committed to maintaining the integrity and consistency of the MOT test regime while improving customer satisfaction across the industry. Working with Motor Codes, the OFT-approved self-regulatory industry body, the industry is working to help motorists identify trustworthy and reputable garages, for all service and repair requirements, based on independent consumer feedback accessible through a postcode-based garage finder at

As a result of the MOT evaluation, the key decisions made by government include:

  • Retaining the existing rules on MOT test frequency; with an initial test three years from first registration and every year thereafter.
  • Encouraging the take up of industry codes of practice, such as the OFT-approved schemes run by Motor Codes, and expand them to include MOT testing.
  • Helping motorists to spot ‘clocked’ second hand vehicles, by changing MOT certificates so that they carry the last three years’ mileage information as well as the mileage on the day of the test.
  • Arranging ‘mystery shopper’ tests to help improve performance in addition to those already carried out by VOSA.


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