The Automotive Aftermarket Liaison Group (AALG) discussed how to best fight the proposition and defend the UK’s impeccable safety record.
The AALG, consisting of trade associations operating in the independent automotive aftermarket, believes that as the overall reliability of modern cars has improved, drivers may be unaware of vehicle faults such as worn tyres and brakes.
In 2011, a study carried out by more than 25 organisations representing the interests of motorists and garages called PRO-MOTE found that moving to a 4-1-1 system would result in 55 additional fatal accidents every year, and more than 2,000 injuries, of which 338 would be serious.
Geoff Bates, the AALG chairman, said ‘With a failure rate of 22 per cent after three years, more than a fifth of cars have problems – but will be going another 12 months before an automotive professional looks at them.’
Stuart James, director of the Independent Garage Association, said: ‘The condition of the UK’s roads are deteriorating, with potholes and other road conditions more frequently damaging cars, which affects steering, tyres and other vehicle components. It’s absurd the Chancellor is sacrificing the UK’s great safety record to try to win votes.’
Sandy Burgess, the chief executive of the Scottish Motor Trade Association, said: ‘Extending the period for the first mandatory testing and examination of the safety and emission-related engineering and electronics on vehicles that are doing higher average miles per annum that ever before, is nothing more than political posturing to the extreme. Bringing this into law will cause lives to be lost and more injuries to be suffered, as the 2011 study clearly highlights.’
Malcolm Tagg, director general of the Vehicle Builders and Repairers Association, said: ‘Not all our members are directly involved in MOT work but they are all focused on the wider need for safe, roadworthy vehicles. The potential harm these proposed changes could do to the UK’s excellent road safety record is worrying. Headline-grabbing announcements that such changes can save motorists large amounts of money are grossly misleading and the potential grief and cost to the community of changing a basic safety measure such as the MOT is ill advised.’
Dave Garratt, the chief executive of the Garage Equipment Association, said: ‘It’s the high mileages driven today that’s a worry. Many cars used for business do more than 40,000 miles per year – 160,000 miles before the first MOT is a risk. Furthermore, the UK has a pollution problem – in my opinion delaying, an emission test to the 4th year is not a good idea.’
Wendy Williamson, the chief executive of the IAAF, said: ‘To ensure as safe and cost-effective motoring as possible, motorists must have their vehicle inspected and serviced regularly. Given that figures suggest one in five vehicles fail their MOT in the first three years, and with new-car sales at record highs, moving to an extended testing period would potentially cause more accidents and fatalities because of defective vehicles on UK roads.’
Tamzen Isacsson, the SMMT director of communications, said: ‘The MOT is an essential part of vehicle ownership, and vital to maintaining the increasingly high safety and emissions standards set by manufacturers. The Department for Transport’s own research has shown that decreasing the frequency of MOT tests would increase deaths and serious injuries. Motorists should see the MOT as a benefit, not a burden, and SMMT will continue to engage with policy makers to ensure the industry’s voice is heard.’
Stefan Hay, director of the National Tyre Distributors Association, said: ‘The key question, when any changes to MOT frequency are being considered, is whether the money and time motorists would save by the proposed delayed first test would be outweighed by the consequences. The concern is how we would be able to ensure vehicles remain in a safe condition if the first test is postponed for a further year. With recent figures released by Tyresafe and Highways England showing more than a quarter of all drivers had an unsafe illegal tyre on their vehicle at the time they were replaced, we very much doubt it. We believe this change would result in an unacceptable high cost to society as a result of additional road traffic accidents, which testing at the current frequency helps avoid.’
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