Four-year MOT exemption for new cars proposed

The UK Government have proposed to change the law regarding MOT checks for cars and motorbikes.

Currently in the UK, vehicles undergo an MOT test on the third anniversary of their registration and every year after this period. This is a safety check, concerned with all aspects of the vehicle, including exhaust emissions, seat belts, lights, suspension, tyres and the condition of the bodywork. Anyone caught driving a vehicle without a valid MOT certificate could be fined up to £1000. However, the duration of time that you can drive a new car without getting an MOT could be changing, with the first test being necessary after four years instead of three.

MOTs were first introduced in 1960 for vehicles more than ten years old, before the exemption period was reduced to three years in 1967. There are, however, currently a few exceptions to the law: classic cars and motorcycles made before 1960 do not require an MOT certificate, nor do tractors or electric goods vehicles.

This is hardly a controversial proposal – many of the UK’s close neighbours throughout the European Union, and even Northern Ireland, already operate similar legislation. The reasoning behind the proposed move is simply to make the law consistent with the fact that the roads four decades ago were very different from what they are like now: vehicles stay roadworthy for longer due to the implementation of safer technology and better manufacturing. Referring to a vast body of statistics, those who advocate this change argue that the number of accidents which have been caused by vehicular defects have dropped drastically over the last decade.

With the cost of motoring rising every day because of insurance premiums, road tax and fuel prices, this will be largely welcomed by drivers who can pay up to £54.85 for an MOT test before any repairs are even carried out.