The National Tyre Distributors Association (NTDA), which was the first trade association to respond on 8th July 2015 to the then Chancellor George Osbourne’s initial proposal, has, today, reaffirmed its opposition to the DfT’s plans to possibly extending the first MOT test from 3 to 4 years.

NTDA Chief Executive Stefan Hay said: “This subject was thoroughly reviewed over an extended period between 2005 and 2008 when a proposal was on the table to move to a 4-2-2- testing regime and where a change to 4-1-1 was also considered. The then Secretary of State for Transport, in consultation with Cabinet colleagues, the automotive aftercare market and many motoring organisations, concluded that any change to the current frequency would risk a totally unacceptable increase in road deaths and serious injuries as well as an unacceptable increase in cost to the economy. The NTDA fully endorsed those findings at the time.”

The NTDA position now, is that it does not believe that anything has changed, significantly, since that analysis by the DfT, which was the most comprehensive on the subject ever undertaken and this has been echoed by many of its members.

In the current consultation document, the DfT asserts that new, modern day, cars and vans are safer due to improved technology and warranties, but it is questionable as to the relevance of this to the MOT test. The NTDA believes that one could also argue that statistics show, that improved technology does not improve motorists driving behaviour or their attitudes towards general vehicle maintenance, but in reality, attitudes and behaviour, modern vehicle design, durability and extended warranties have little bearing on an actual MOT test as in the main, key safety critical consumables such as tyres, brakes, lights, windscreen wipers etc., often the main causes for failure, are not covered by warranty and require more frequent replacement.

Many will recall that DVSA released figures showed that 253,000 cars failed the MOT test between January and August 2013, when presented for the first time after being registered new in 2010, the NTDA believes it is fairly safe to assume that deferring the test for a further year would have increased the risk those vehicles posed and further swelled the failure numbers and clearly modern vehicle design and technologies didn’t help.

Stefan Hay continued: “On average between 2012 and 2015 7.5% of total MOT tests on car and light vans identified tyres alone as the failure defect and overall, in that same period, tyres accounted for, on average, 10% of failure defects.* Add to this the tens of thousands of tyre related ‘advisory notes’ issued by testers, including those issued to vehicles that still passed the test, and the more recent 2016 TyreSafe and Highways England statistics showing 27% of tyres as illegal on replacement and we have a very serious justification for saying no to these proposals on the grounds of tyre safety alone! This is an unnecessary and ill-advised consultation, which no one called for. We question to what extent the DfT was consulted before George Osborne’s announcement last year and we question to what extent the DVSA has been consulted now. I’ve quoted statistics today and there are now lots of statistics and numbers, including costs being used on both sides of this argument, but let’s not get too distracted as the MOT is about road safety, road safety is about protecting life and life is priceless!”

The NTDA concludes that the serious threat this potential change poses to road safety and the substantial cost burden to the economy remains and is now calling on all of its member involved in MOT testing to engage, and to respond to, the consultation which runs until 16th April 2017. *(DVSA released statistics)