CEO Update

Testing times for the MOT as development is needed

16 December 2022 #CEO Update

Plunging temperatures and snow this week are a timely reminder of the importance of winter vehicle maintenance. It’s crucial, however, that motorists keep their vehicles in good order throughout the year and the annual MOT inspection plays an important role in helping unearth safety critical issues that may otherwise go unnoticed.

It is imperative that everyone is able to access a test when they need to, a situation that was not helped by the six-month extension to MOTs during the first Covid lockdown. SMMT worked with government to ensure the aftermarket was allowed to operate during this time, with the sector in turn ensuring vehicle owners could still get MOT tests, as well as repair and maintenance, to preserve road safety throughout the pandemic.

Whilst this was an understandable and temporary measure for lockdown, it was important for the MOT system to get back to normal as soon as possible. Tremendous work was done by the sector and policymakers to restore the natural cadence of MOT tests, reducing the Autumn peak and Spring trough situation which was tricky for workshops and consumers to manage.

SMMT is now working closely with government over suggestions that MOT intervals be shifted from 3-1-1 to 4-1-1 or, even worse, to 4-2-2. We have continued to make a solid and united case that extended intervals are damaging to road safety, air quality and business. Next year we expect renewed consultation on this issue and how the test can be developed in line with emissions requirements, to support decarbonisation and air quality goals and capture newer technologies such as advanced driver assistance systems.

As more of the latest vehicles begin to undertake their first MOT, it raises the need for discussions regarding the incorporation of safety recalls into the testing process. This would allow vehicle owners to be alerted to any campaigns as an advisory, something SMMT is firmly advocating. It is essential that MOT testing is developed to maintain the highest levels of safety for the vehicles on our roads and that it remains an essential part of vehicle ownership. As vehicle technology – safety, emissions, and indeed the whole powertrain itself – evolves, it is vitally important that test also evolves such that it is fit for the future as well as the present.

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