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.
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.
FOXY Lady Drivers Club