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Government proposes no MOT for first four years

New proposals have been unveiled which would extend the period before the first MOT is needed from three to four years.

The government is consulting on plans that would bring England, Scotland and Wales in line with Northern Ireland and many other European countries such as France, Ireland, Italy, Spain, Denmark and Norway.

In 1967, the MOT-free period was reduced from ten to three years. Now, the government believes, safer technology and improved manufacturing means new vehicles stay roadworthy for longer. It also estimates that the change would save motorists more than £100 million a year. At present more than 2.2 million cars each year have to undergo their first MOT, which costs owners a maximum of £54.85.

“We have some of the safest roads in the world and MOTs play an important role in ensuring the standard of vehicles on our roads,” Transport Minister Andrew Jones said. “New vehicles are much safer than they were 50 years ago and so it is only right we bring the MOT test up to date to help save motorists money where we can.

It is a legal requirement that all vehicles are roadworthy, regardless of whether they have passed an MOT test, and the content of the tests will not be changed.

The most common reasons for cars to fail their first tests are faulty lights, according to the Driver & Vehicle Standards Agency. Furthermore, it says, almost half of all the faults found could be avoided through simple checks and maintenance, like replacing bulbs, checking tyres and oil as well as ensuring the windscreen wipers work.

Subject to the public consultation, the changes could come into effect next year.