RAC issues safety warning as Shapps considers relaxing MOT rules

A leading motoring organisation has voiced concerns that changing MOT rules could make the UK’s roads less safe for motorists.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has refused to rule out allowing vehicles to only need an MOT every two years, rather than annually, to ease the cost of living crisis.

The tests cost up to £54.85, with repair bills on top.

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Asked about the issue by the Commons’ Transport Select Committee, Mr Shapps said any changes would need to meet a “very rigorous safety standard”.

Qualified mechanics conduct a number of strict safety checks during the current yearly MOT test

He went on: “I don’t rule anything out.

“If you look at things like MOTs – cars have clearly become a lot more reliable than when the MOT, named after the Ministry of Transport, was put in place.

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“I think it’s always right to keep these things under review, but there’s a lot of road to cover before we get to that point.”

Mr Shapps added: “I’m always looking at things that can assist but I’m certainly not in a position to make specific announcements about those things.”

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Transport Select Committee member, Karl McCartney, told Mr Shapps it was “an absolutely crass idea”.

Motoring groups have warned about the safety implications of relaxing MOT rules.

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RAC head of policy Nicholas Lyes said: “The purpose of an MOT is to ensure vehicles meet a basic level of safety for driving on our roads.

“Shifting it from annually to every two years would see a dramatic increase in the number of unroadworthy vehicles and could make our roads far less safe.”

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Once a vehicle reaches three years old it requires an annual MOT test to check its roadworthiness, with a range of components in the vehicle inspected. Any issues with a vehicle are flagged as either ‘advisories’ to monitor and repair if needed, or ‘major defects’, which automatically mean a vehicle will fail its MOT and cannot be driven on the road until repaired.

Increasing the requirement for an MOT test to two years would see the driver of a standard car save up to £54.85, or £29.65 for a motorbike.

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During an MOT, a number of parts such as lights, seatbelts, tyres and brakes are checked to ensure they meet legal standards.

Drivers can be fined up to £1,000 for using a vehicle without a valid MOT.