Tag Archives: DfT

FOXY adds female voice to MoT consultation

Sent to MOT411consultation@dft.gsi.gov.uk.

On behalf of UK women drivers, this is FOXY Lady Drivers’ Club’s response to the UK government’s proposal to extend the MOT test ‘grace period’ of new vehicles from three to four years. As you can see we are not impressed.

Dear Sirs

I run the UK’s only motoring club for women drivers, FOXY Lady Drivers Club, and am writing to you, on their behalf, about your proposal to delay vehicle first MoT tests from their 3rd to 4th birthday.

I was a signatory of the previous Pro-MoTe campaign, when this proposal was last aired and I remain as baffled, if not more, about the Government’s agenda here. I am particularly concerned about the implications re tyre safety.

MoT Consultation Concerns

These are the points I’d like to submit for your consideration within the consultation period.

1) A Misguided Moneysaver

The safety issues raised outweigh the one-off saving of some £54.85 (ie one MoT fee) even for the many women who dislike visiting garages.

2) Dangerous Cars on UK Roads

Delaying a first year vehicle MoT from 3 years to 4 years is increasing the number of dangerous cars on our roads, for longer.

An unacceptably high number of vehicles are failing their first MoT and whilst it might be tempting to think that tyres and brake failings are the main road safety issues, we must not overlook the risks drivers run with inadequate lighting, wipers and or windscreen washer levels.

Even worse, a van could have driven some 150k miles before its first MoT safety snapshot. Hence their higher first time MoT failure rates.

3) Newer Cars Aren’t Always Safer

Badly maintained ‘nearly new’ cars are NOT safer than well maintained older ones. A modern car with a typical 30,000 miles on its clock, driven by a motorist who is oblivious to tyre care and TPMS warnings is too common an example to ignore simply because a car has covered fewer miles.

4) Car Servicing Standards

Car servicing/manufacturer/vehicle handbook servicing regimes/checklists cannot be relied upon to alert motorists to car maintenance neglect in between garage visits.

5) Motorists Knowledge of Car Maintenance

My experience talking to groups of women drivers confirms that many of them are poorly informed about tyre safety in particular – I imagine this is true of male drivers too.

The Tyresafe infographic draws attention to this, extrapolating that 1 in 4 vehicles on our roads is potentially travelling on illegal ie dangerous tyres.

They also record that the level of ignorance relating to TPMS (Tyre Pressure Monitoring Systems) is increasing. See Tyresafe.org 2016 research.

6) The Cost of More Road Accidents

An increasing number of dangerous vehicles on our roads will result in more road accidents, more serious injuries and fatalities, more days lost at work, more traffic jams and more stress for our emergency services alike. As I see it, this is the potential risk you run were you to actively postpone essential safety checks on UK vehicles from their 3rd to 4th birthday.


All in all, I’d rather be talking to you about organising courses to help women drivers understand how to/what it takes to run safer vehicles.

Finally, I remain unconvinced that MoTs should be discounted. Demand is inelastic and MoTs should be seen as a fixed cost. Too many MoT offers look like a ‘sprat to catch a mackerel’ tactic. I’d prefer to see some of the full fee being spent on delivering better customer service.

Yours sincerely


Steph Savill


FOXY Lady Drivers Club



BN44 3GF

How many dangerous cars cause accidents?

When it is fit for purpose (not today imho), Road Casualties Online is a new website designed to allow members of the public to perform their own analysis and examination of Reported Road Accident Statistics to reach their own road safety conclusions. I’d have thought this could be very helpful to Local Authorities in future.

I visited it today to see if I could find out how many road accidents were caused by dangerous cars. But I couldn’t (perhaps I need a bigger brain?) and the 2009 data isn’t there yet. So I looked at the DfT’s Road Casualties Great Britain report for 2009 recording fewer deaths on the road, fewer casualties and fewer pedestrians involved in accidents compared to 2008.

Still too many of course but the key findings were that:

  • 4 out of 5 of the most frequently reported contributory factors involved driver/rider error/reaction.
  • 36% of all fatal accidents involved loss of control.
  • 5% of all accidents were put down to speed but these accidents involved 17% of all fatalities.
  • 13% of accidents were described as ‘exceeding the speed limit’ and ‘travelling too fast for the conditions’ and accounted for 27% of all fatalities.

I have always wondered how many ‘cars in a dangerous condition’ (this is not a DfT statistical category) were the reason behind the ‘loss of control’ 36%. Clearly when you are looking at a fatality the car may well be a write off and nigh on impossible to inspect the condition of a tyre blow out, I’d have thought. But this category will certainly be influenced by speed, driver error/reaction and surely the condition of the vehicle; mainly to do with tyre neglect I’d have thought.

I wonder if the tyre safety and insurance companies can add to this research?

There are certainly moves afoot for insurance companies to refuse accident claims involving cars that are unfit; either because they haven’t been maintained or serviced properly. And whilst we know that the motorist will be held responsible, I wonder if anyone investigates whether a garage was involved or can be held accountable?

Am I being paranoid? In an industry that isn’t licensed and where mechanics don’t have to be qualified?

Perhaps but if the likes of Which? and BBC Watchdog can pinpoint so many supposedly good garages that aren’t spotting or fixing important safety related faults, then the potential for accidents, fatal or otherwise, must be considerably increased. Ipso facto.


Read FOXY Good Garage Guide here before choosing a local garage near you.