With the Government considering changing how often motorists will need to book their cars in for MOT tests, garage owners are understandably anxious about how any new rules will affect business.
Ministers are currently considering plans to reduce the frequency of MOT tests to once every two years in a move that would almost certainly cause widespread damage to the garage industry, according to Basildon’s Oakdene Autos.
The Government is also looking at whether to delay the first MOT test of a new car to four years rather than the current three to take account of modern standards in car manufacturing and production.
The news has obviously provoked a mixed reaction. While motorists clearly welcome a relaxation on the rules which will save them money and time in the short-term, garage owners fear the changes will severely damage business. Meanwhile, police and road safety campaigners are concerned the potential changes could result in more deaths with more dangerous vehicles on the road.
MOT bookings account for a substantial part of many garage businesses and reducing demand by effectively 50% would result in redundancies and closures, it is claimed.
Joe Hodgetts, owner of Basildon’s Oakdene Autos, said: “This legislation, if passed, would result in massive damage to the garage industry in the short-term and almost certainly involve redundancies and the loss of business. However, in the long-term, the industry would recover because there will effectively be more dangerous vehicles on the roads which will need to be repaired eventually. You might save £50 on an MOT one year but there will be a knock on effect because the problems you may have needed to be fixed will continue and potentially get worse, costing you more in the long-run.”
Mr Hodgetts questioned whether the changes would save motorists any money at all saying insurance premiums would rise because of the number of defective vehicles on the roads. He also said the plans would place an extra strain on the emergency services because there would be more accidents.
“A lot of European countries that have introduced two-year MOTs have instated compulsory annual service checks. A service check is more thorough than an MOT test which comprises of only minimal requirements. Many people are currently cutting back on their car’s servicing requirements because of the economic climate but for safety reasons this needs to be stepped up,” he added.
The Government is currently undertaking a consultation on the issue.
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