It sounds like something British motorists will be queuing up to support, but at its heart it contains a fallacy that could easily ratchet up the costs for all of us. I’m talking about the recent EU proposal to scrap the annual UK MOT. Despite rapid advances in GPS and other motoring technolgy, our representatives in Westminster seem set on turning back the clock a few decades.
Alarmingly, one in three cars fails its first MOT after just 3 years on the road. Yet though most of us are too busy to maintain our cars in between annual tests, the EU is attempting to impose a regime that tests our cars every other year, starting once they are 4 years old.
The UK currently employs what’s known as the 3-1-1 model – basically, that means a car has to be tested after three years and then every year after that. Under the new MOT proposals, tests would fall in line with other EU countries, such as France. This would mean a car wouldn’t need its first test until it had been on the road for four years, with subsequent tests every two.
The plans will mean many more unsafe cars on our roads and an increase in accidents as a result (with a wealth of data to prove this). That’s to say nothing of the 1000s of jobs lost in the UK’s motor industry at a time when the economy is already plagued by woe.
Of course, we now have a new Transport Secretary, Justine Greening, so it will be interesting to see how her stewardship influences the course of this new proposal. I don’t envy her having to get to grips with this and such other red herring issues thrown into the mix, like increasing the speed limit on motorways.
Whilst VOSA is changing the existing UK MOT model to include other items, this new slew of ideas from the EU will mean that the administrative burden on the UK motor industry will actually increase and at the expense of road safety. Both these factors will of course be passed on in the form of higher charges for motorists, who will effectively be supporting the bad cars and poor drivers who now have a lighter administrative burden.
This is the worst scenario for this change, which will come in through the UK’s back door, but one which is actually looking quite likely. Whilst no-one is standing guard, it may be that we have another cost added to our already ballooning road costs. In which case, mark my words, the cost of this EU interference could well be lost British lives on our roads and lost MOT industry jobs.