Tag Archive | "MOT"

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INDUSTRY RESPONDS AS CALLS FOR ‘OUTDATED’ MOT TO BE SCRAPPED


The Adam Smith Institute (ASI), a UK ‘think tank’ has released a report suggesting the MOT is outdated and should be abolished.

Following the results of the government’s 4-1-1 consultation earlier this year, the institute researched the annual test to establish its place in today’s society. From its findings, it believes the practice is outdated, stemming from the widespread use of ‘unsafe’ vehicles in the 1950s, and calling reforms over the years; “burdens on drivers due to unsubstantiated assumptions that inspections increase safety.”

The institute’s research suggests that just 2% of all vehicle accidents in the UK are down to mechanical failures, whereas 65% are driver-related, although the latter figure is based on a report written nearly a decade ago. It believes that due to modern safety requirements built into vehicles, both material and technological, the MOT is now irrelevant, and scrapping it would allow for more focus on driver training to prevent accidents.

Drawing comparison with states in the USA that have removed the requirement for periodic testing, the report suggests that the number of mechanical-related accidents did not change from levels when such inspections were mandatory. Therefore, it states that MOT testing is irrelevant, although there is only conjecture that the numbers would not have dropped had testing remained in place.

Referencing the government’s 4-1-1 consultation results, which were published in January, the ASI report states: “The proposal was rejected in part because public consultation suggested that the safety risk outweighed [any] potential saving. Numerous groups spoke out against the proposed change and the supposed safety risk it would entail; however, each of the proposal’s opponents relied entirely on conjecture and extrapolation to justify these claims.”

In its conclusion, the paper surmises: “By continuing inspection programs like the MOT, the United Kingdom places an overly burdensome weight on its drivers to care for their vehicles while overlooking the more serious drivers of roadway fatalities and injuries: the drivers themselves. Even if the program cannot be abolished completely, the MOT program ought to, at a minimum, be seriously overhauled to be less restrictive and wasteful, and to focus on driver behaviour rather than vehicle status.”

Retaliating to the findings, Stuart James, IGA Director commented: “The fact that the UK has one of the best road safety records in the developed world is a testament to the quality of the MOT test.

“The report states that the average repair cost to get a car through its MOT is £143. This indicates that a large number of vehicles are unroadworthy. Every fatality is one too many, and for an average price of £33, the peace of mind that this brings can only be perceived as outstanding value for money.”

Speaking on Twitter, AA President Edmund King added: “What absolute rubbish. In all our polls drivers actually appreciate the importance of the MOT. Going by a number of cars I saw tonight with lights not working, we need MOTs.”

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DVSA BOSS: WHAT WE’VE LEARNT FROM MOT CHANGES

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DVSA BOSS: WHAT WE’VE LEARNT FROM MOT CHANGES


In a blog post, Neil Barlow, DVSA’s Head of MOT Policy has reflected on the changes to the test, implemented in May.

Writing for authorised examiners, he noted: “Before 20 May, the training environment we set up to help you get used to the changes was used by over 12,000 testers. Your feedback showed that most of you found this useful, so we’ll look at providing a similar training environment again for any large changes in the future.”

Barlow observed that testers were taking longer to record defects, though this was ‘hardly surprising’ given the new structure. He also noted that the wording, which had been criticised by a number of testers for being technically or grammatically ambiguous, was being updated.

On a slightly different subject, Barlow wrote how the Agency was reviewing the ‘risk rating’ for testing centres. This will look at a number of factors and the station will be logged under a ‘traffic light’ scheme accordingly. “We’ll do some calculations based around testers and this will be pulled together to form an overall score for the garage. We’re working hard to make sure that this information is clear and open to those that need it” concluded Barlow.

Mixed responses for 4-1-1 proposition

Read Barlow’s full blog post here

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AUTOMECHANIKA B’HAM LAUNCHES SHOW PREVIEW

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AUTOMECHANIKA B’HAM LAUNCHES SHOW PREVIEW


PROMOTION ARTICLE ON BEHALF OF AUTOMECHANIKA BIRMINGHAM

Automechanika Birmingham Event Preview – packed with reasons to attend.

Automechanika Birmingham, leading exhibition for the UK’s automotive industry has launched its Event Preview  PACKED with reasons why you need to attend this year’s event.

Whatever your role in the aftermarket, the event answers your critical questions…

o How will the EU changes impact the future of the MOT?
o What’s the latest technology updates for Diagnostics, ADAS calibration and hybrid vehicles?
o What effect will connectivity & electrification have on the industry?
o How will I meet new suppliers and get better deals from existing ones?

Whatever your questions, answers are guaranteed at Automechanika Birmingham, taking place on 5-7 June, NEC, Birmingham.

Over 500 exhibitors include;
Delphi, HELLA, Liqui Moly, MANN + HUMMEL, Bosch UK, TEXA, Draper Tools, DURA, ITW, ISN, Certas Energy, Snap On, Milwaukee Tools, AA garage guide, Toyota First, Mec-Diesel, EFI Automotive Service, Ceramex, GSF Car Parts, Premier Components UK Ltd, Mac Tools (Stanley Black & Decker), Wurth Electronics, Stanners Equipment, Road Runner, Motor Trade Insurance, EDT Automotive and others.

Don’t forget late night opening Wednesday 6 June in the Garage Quarter, provides a perfect place to reconnect with your garage customers and maximise meetings with suppliers.

Arrive before 10am and receive a free hot drink and pastry sponsored by Valeo & Castrol UK.

Time’s ticking but don’t panic, you can still register free. Why not invite your colleagues too?

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ON TOP OF THE WEALD

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ON TOP OF THE WEALD


Uckfield Motor Services – The Cockill family show us around their Sussex garage

Uckfield Motor Services

What’s the most efficient way of raising your profile as an independent garage? Offering a good service and establishing a customer base that will keep returning time after time is important of course, but arranging a garage in a way that doesn’t feel intimidating to new and non-traditional customers is something that eludes many small businesses.

However, this was less of a problem for Symon Cockill. Coming from a franchise retail background, he understood that the details are important for a customer’s perception of a business. Founded back in 1988, Family-run Uckfield Motor Services was originally based in an anonymous unit at the back of a trading estate, but when the opportunity came to move to one of the customer-facing units alongside the likes of Halfords and Topps Tiles, he jumped at the chance: “Everyone thought we were mad,” he recalled. “When we put the figures on paper, we knew it would be hard work [to justify moving]”. Nonetheless, the move was a step on being a more recognised brand in the town and the business employs Symon, wife Melanie, daughter Hannah, sons Harry and Edward as well as various other technicians.

The units had previously been used by a local bodyshop and so were well suited to become a service and repair garage and part of the Cockill’s strategy was to join a garage scheme and benefit from recognised branding and visibility. Originally, the garage was one of the Unipart Car Care Centres, but left when the well-publicised problems hit Unipart Automotive. The Cockills liked the idea of garage schemes and joined Bosch Car Service for a while, but chose not to re-apply when this scheme restructured in 2015.

Instead, the garage had its own signage made, but there were a number of things about being in a scheme that the family liked. First, there was the raised visibility already mentioned. Secondly, and most importantly according to Edward Cockill is the access to affordable training courses. After speaking to a few suppliers about various schemes and ‘soft franchises’, the team settled on joining AutoFirst, a scheme developed by Euro Car Parts and for which UMS would be the 300th member.

Other than the benefits of being a member of a garage scheme, Uckfield Motor Services also offers customers an option to view work on their car, or at least part of it, on their phones, thanks to a series of video cameras that link to an app. The firm has also joined the bookmygarage and blackcircles aggregators in order to bring some work in from customers who may not have previously visited the workshop.

CLEAN AND TIDY
Touring the building, we’re struck by how clean the facility is. You might expect tidy reception area – and this one is very smart (and complete with a coffee table that uses an F1 tyre as the base). All of the bays are clean and the ramps themselves are positively gleaming. Ten people work in the business in total, and though it isn’t the biggest workshop, there seems to be a system in place where everyone can move around without bumping into each other. As with most high-level independent garages, modern diagnostic play a big part in the business and a proportion of income is spent on the latest scan tools and test equipment.

However, it isn’t all hard work. Outside the workshop is a race- prepped Citroen C1, one of many track cars owned by the family over the years. “Racing is a way of life” explained Edward, though he did note that the little car was a ‘bit slow’ compared to the other, more exotic cars he has driven on the track.

What’s next for the garage? At some point, brothers Edward and Harry are keen to build a glass frontage to enlarge the waiting area and increase the dealer-like feel of the garage.

For the time being, they are happy maintaining their reputation as one of the most popular garages in Sussex.

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BIG IDEAS FROM A FAMILY BUSINESS

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BIG IDEAS FROM A FAMILY BUSINESS


Operations Manager Lorraine Fullers takes CAT around family-run and CAT nominated garage: D&D Autos in Ashford.

Workshop space serves all marques

If you’re on the Eurostar, the chances are that you’ve seen the looming D&D Autos building as you pull out of Ashford International. It is physically the largest independent garage in the town, if not the whole of Kent, and it needs to be. Numerous awards, including CAT’s Large Garage of the Year in 2017 and a strong local reputation have allowed the business to expand to accommodate the volume of work.

However, big ideas start small, and the credit for starting the business goes to Derek Pestridge, who founded it in 1983 after acquiring his first workshop unit in Ashford. The decision for Derek to do this was simple, it was time to ‘better himself’ by taking the next step in his automotive career, having worked for various automotive companies including a VW dealership Euro Charing. “He founded the business with his friend Dave Woollett, hence where the name ‘D&D Autos’
comes from” explained Derek’s daughter and Operations Manager Lorraine Fuller. “He went on to acquire the units adjacent to the main workshop, which saw the start of MOT testing. The business continued to grow”.

As part of major expansion plans, in 2009, the independent relocated from its old site in the town to a purpose-built 10,000 sq ft. facility, situated on the Orbital Park Industrial Estate. Of course, moving to a bigger site didn’t come without its complications as Fuller pointed out: “We were aware that we may lose customers moving away from our Victoria site that was five minutes away from Ashford town centre and the railway station. However, we introduced a courtesy shuttle service and new courtesy vehicles to help customers get to and from the site, so as to help make our customer’s collection and delivery of vehicles as simple as possible”.

EXPANSION
Since the move, the firm has enjoyed steady growth over the years, growing its workforce from 11 to 23 staff whilst building up its customer base through a number of marketing initiatives. On our arrival, the sitting area was neat and tidy with the company logo sported across the foyer walls. We were welcomed by front-of-house staff who were busy dealing with the Monday rush of customer calls and parts orders as the local TPS van made its morning delivery.

Although Derek has taken a backseat to the business, he can still be found around the workshop replacing a clutch or conducting an MOT test to assist sons Matthew and Richard who have stepped into their father’s shoes.

The workshop space itself is quite impressive, home to 13 ramps and two MOT bays designed for servicing class one, two, four, five and seven
vehicles. The move from the old site has also allowed the workshop to take on more diagnostic work for fleets as well as picking up some jobs delegated from dealerships in and around the Orbital Business Park.

ALL MAKES
“We fix cars of all makes and models and that’s basically the crux of it”, Matthew remarked when we asked how the business maintained a steady flow of work. “We never outsource any work. Everything is completed in-house”.

Matthew notes that he is keen to get all his technicians qualified on these systems over the year. He explained: “We have started seeing more hybrid and electric vehicles coming through the workshop. Some of the technicians and I have started training on these systems through Bosch, but the company plan for D&D Autos is to get everyone in the workshop into some hybrid training”.

Another project is to sell used cars on site, following a new partnership with the AA. Matthew elaborated: “With the reputation we have, we’re always getting customers asking about buying cars, so we are going to see if we can make it work for the business as another add on for D&D. He concluded, “When we roll this out, we are going to do AA warranties, because we’re already signed up for the recoveries when we went through the process of becoming an AA-approved garage.”

For the future, the family have yet more big ideas, possibly including an extra site. We’ll be interested to see how they get on.

Posted in Garage News, News, Out and About with CATComments (0)

INDUSTRY REACTS AS 4-1-1 MOT IS SCRAPPED

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INDUSTRY REACTS AS 4-1-1 MOT IS SCRAPPED


Following the news that a proposal to change the frequency of the first MOT test to four years instead of three has been scrapped by the government, the industry has reacted with delight.

The IAAFs Wendy Williamson said: “It is an understatement to say that we are delighted that these plans have now been scrapped, which comes as a result of all the hard efforts of IAAF as well as the whole of the industry. From the outset, we’ve vigorously fought these proposals, which threatened not just the aftermarket but more crucially, motorists’ safety.

“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, moving to an extended testing period would have potentially caused more accidents and fatalities due to defective vehicles on UK roads.”

The federation has worked relentlessly alongside other industry bodies to fight the unwelcome legislation and is part of the ProMOTe campaign being run by the AALG (Automotive Aftermarket Liaison Group) to protect the safety of all road users.

The VMs dealer networks have also welcomed the proposal. Sue Robinson, Director of the RMI’s National Franchised Dealer Assoc. commented: “The NFDA had previously highlighted the potentially devastating road safety implications which extending the date of the first MoT from three to four years might have had. It is extremely positive to see that the government has acknowledged this.”

Also welcoming the news are factor groups. ECP’s CEO Martin Gray said: “We applaud the Minister’s decision to put road safety first. As we highlighted in our consultation to the government around 17% of cars fail their first MoT on their initial attempt, so extending a car’s first MoT to four years could have resulted in an extra 410,000 unsafe cars on the roads and risk higher accident rates. The three-year-for-first MoT system ensures vehicle defects are picked up and remedied quickly, to ensure the safety of all road users”.

“We’d like to thank all those in the industry petitioned the government. It is our belief, and that of the wider sector, that road users’ safety will be maintained as a result of this decision.”

However, not everyone is delighted with the decision. A poster on the Daily Express website set the tone for the majority of reader comments by saying: “Again rip off UK. In Spain first MOT at four years and then every two years until the vehicle is ten years old then every year. Garages must have done a lot of lobbying”.

Mixed responses for 4-1-1 proposition

 

 

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AN INSIDE JOB

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AN INSIDE JOB


 It can leave a bad taste when an employee commits fraud, but it must be dealt with, writes Adam Bernstein.

It’s bad enough losing out to theft committed by customers and third-party criminals, but it can leave a particularly nasty taste in the mouth when those most trusted – staff – commit criminal acts against the business that employs them.

According to Action Fraud, one in five small businesses will have been defrauded at some point in their trading history – sometimes to the point of bringing the business to its knees.

In March 2010, The Journal reported that a 21-year-old garage – Knights of Newcastle – was put out of business after a trusted employee, Colin Prudham, used the company computer to print off 419 fake MOT test certificates. The fraud only earned Prudham £12,500. In February 2011, a former employee in the accounts department was convicted for stealing over £50,000 from Lanehouse Service Station in Weymouth over a six-year period. The managing director, Peter Amery, described Joyce Britnell’s actions as a “major betrayal.”

And in February 2013, a bookkeeper stole £210,000 from a family business involved in motorcycle publishing run by her friends. Amanda Stevens took the money for, among things, hair and clothes leaving the company – Redcat – to pick up the pieces. The fraud committed over a number of years was only discovered when the VAT couldn’t be paid.

TAKING ACTION
While fraud is an ever-present risk, and a destructive one at that, employers can take preventative measures.

Background
The first step is to proactively check on everyone that is employed by the business, especially where they have access to sensitive systems or the company bank account. Quite simply, firms need to know exactly who they are employing. References should be sought and followed up with calls; the matter shouldn’t be dropped until satisfactory answers are received. Everyone from the cleaner to the members of the board, as well as contractors, should be subject to background checks. At the very minimum, it’s important to confirm an employee’s identity, date of birth, residential address, qualifications, employment history, criminal history and financial background. The process can be undertaken as part of the statutory obligation to ensure that an employee has the legal right to work in the UK.

Another option is to ask for a recent bank or utility statement, as well as details to check on qualifications, or a marriage certificate if a married woman has changed her name. You can also ask for past P45 or P60s, as well as data from Disclosure and Barring Service. Credit agency Experian offer background checks for those in the automotive sector to enable employers to check on, for example, qualifications and experience. At the same time, by signing up with one of the credit reference agencies – Experian, Equifax or Callcredit – employers will be able to monitor if employee (or third party) activity has changed the financial status of the business.

Policies
Another large step that a business can take to protect its position is to engender the ethos that fraud is not tolerated within the business. This starts at the top with everyone being able to see that the management plays by the same rules that employees have to follow. Policies and procedures need to be written, but they also need ‘buy-in’ from employees which requires consultation. On joining, every employee should be given, among things, an anti-fraud policy. If a fraud should occur and the employee concerned is dismissed, the event and the consequences should be widely communicated to all staff as a deterrent.

Control access
As harsh as it sounds, firms need to strictly control access to their premises and systems. As soon as an employee leaves the company their access to systems should be terminated immediately. Passwords should be changed, passes revoked and possession should be regained of company laptops and mobiles. (It doesn’t hurt to regularly change passwords held and used by all employees).

Take action
If a faked history or worse, criminality, is suspected, it’s important to take good legal advice with a view to with- drawing any employment offer made (or dismissing the employee). The situation should be reported to the police or, in the case of illegal working, to the UK Border Agency, as well as to the recruitment agency if appropriate. Ignoring the issue will only shuffle the problem to another employer; it could also leave the firm open to claims from future employers who weren’t warned about the ‘rogue’ employee.

Check further
Processes need to be put in place so that no one person has sole control over payment systems, chequebooks or the ability to singly authorise purchases over a given (low) value. Invoices should be checked to ensure that they are from genuine suppliers; unexpected requests to change bank accounts should verified – every time; and suppliers should be informed in writing each time a payment is made.

It’s important to also prevent premium rate and international numbers from being dialled out on company phones. Premium rate fraud – also known as PBX or dial-through fraud) involved out of hours calls being made to particularly expensive numbers. Similarly, phone logs should be regularly checked for increased use or unusual call activity.

Lastly, firms should take steps to destroy any documents with sensitive information that may allow a fraudster to misuse the corporate identity for criminal gain.

For paper, this means acquiring a fine cut cross shredder, while for data, firms should securely wipe computers (physically destroying hard drives and USB sticks) while factory resetting mobile devices. At the same time, time spent signing up on Companies House and other agencies websites seeking out their online protections is worthwhile. Companies House, for example, offers the PROOF scheme in relation to the changing of official corporate details; it helps prevent the hijacking of a company.

Fraud is an unpleasant fact of life. However, those firms that make it harder for employees who are criminally minded will be much better off. By removing the opportunity they’ll remove the temptation.

WHAT TO BE AWARE OF

There are countless different ways that an employee can abuse trust. However, the main forms that firms should be on the watch for are:
Procurement fraud: Fraud relating to company purchases of goods, services or works commissioned. Goods are invoiced but not delivered, or are subject to inflated prices.

Travel and subsistence fraud: Where employees claim for, say, food and mileage not incurred or which is higher than receipts can show.

Personnel management: Staff on sick leave but moonlighting elsewhere, misuse of company equipment and time for private purposes, or the use of false references and qualifications.

Exploitation of assets and information: The passing of internal company information for personal gain.

Payment fraud: The creation of fake accounts and invoices, the redirection of cheques and other payments, or the processing payments to the fraudulent individual.

Receipt fraud: The theft of inbound monies or where records for monies owed are altered.

False accounting: Changing records and accounts to misrepresent their true value, to enhance or alter their appearance, to gain funds from a bank, report overly high profits or to hide losses.

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TESTING TIMES: DVSA REPORT

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TESTING TIMES: DVSA REPORT


The Driving Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) has published its 2017 annual review, which highlights changes to the MOT testing service and the association’s actions on tackling claims relating to MOT fraud.

According to the report, 511 garages and 483 testers were investigated by the organisation from last year while 45 garages and 111 testers have been stopped testing altogether. A statement from the review said: “With some of these cases there were administrative errors, the more serious cases involved testers who’d issued MOT certificates without actually testing the vehicle. In the most severe cases we took the testers to court, and some received prison sentences”.

In addition, the report outlines 25 new improvements for the MOT testing service with the integration of technical information made readily available for vehicles so testers can carry out the mandatory procedures correctly while being able to identify and remove any defects before retesting.

The agency will continue clamping down on illegal MOT activities within the trade and is in the process of developing an MOT Reminder service for motorists; encouraging them to get their vehicles serviced on time. The statement concluded. “We’re going to look at using new technology to provide streamlined processes for our commercial vehicle testing service. We want to improve our testers’ access to vehicle information at the time of testing, and capture and produce test results digitally. We also aim to improve the service to our customers by simplifying the current payment process, making it easier for them to make payments and view their account in real time”.

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RMI OPENS NEW ACADEMY IN RUNCORN

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RMI OPENS NEW ACADEMY IN RUNCORN


Runcorn academy opens on 3rd July

The Retail Motoring Industry Federation (RMIF) has announced the launch of its MOT training facility in Runcorn, Cheshire.

The new 7,000 sq ft. warehouse follows a similar set-up to the Southam site in Warwickshire, but includes a larger workshop space allowing delegates to carry out MOT Tester training before completing the final test on their work premises. In addition, this is supported by two MOT bays for class four and seven vehicles, a dedicated service ramp and three classrooms catering for industry events and seminar programmes.

Speaking of the launch, Stuart James, Independent Garages Director at the RMI, said. “We decided to open an academy in Runcorn because of the significant number of businesses around the area”. He continued. “Delegates at our latest facility can expect new MOT Tester training for classes four and seven vehicles. We are also doing Level 1 and 2 Motorcycle and a Pre-Mot Testing Level 3 course to support individuals who want to become MOT testers or become eligible to go onto the course”.

The federation will integrate the Independent Garage Association’s training infrastructure, with the inclusion of new courses starting later this year. RMI’s Stuart James provided further insight. “One thing we’re doing in the near future is launching the IGA’s new training regime where we will have a suite of new on-site courses. The newest addition is the ‘Oscilloscope course pilot’, which we have run and will be coming out soon”, adding that the firm’s next course catalogue will be available to the trade next month.

Although there have been discussions of opening an academy in Basingstoke, the team are focusing on getting the Runcorn facility up and running at full capacity before tackling their next project. The site is available to both members and non-members of the RMI.

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MOT CHANGE: IS THE TRADE IN AN ECHO CHAMBER?

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MOT CHANGE: IS THE TRADE IN AN ECHO CHAMBER?


Mixed responses for 4-1-1 proposition

A YouGov poll for SMMT indicated that 76 percent of motorists want to keep the interval for vehicles’ first MOT at three years, rather than increasing it to four as proposed by the government.

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said, “The MOT is an essential check on the safety and roadworthiness of vehicles. Extending the first test for cars from three to four years is not what consumers or the industry wants given the serious risk posed to road safety and vehicles’ environmental performance. The latest vehicles are equipped with advanced safety systems but it is still critical that wear and tear items such as tyres and brakes are checked regularly and replaced. We urge government to scrap its plans to change a test system that has played a vital role in making the UK’s roads among the safest in the world.”

However, a story in the Telegraph suggests that the motor industry might be living in its own echo chamber. Under the headline ‘Car industry battles changes that could save drivers £100m a year’, the story mentions the SMMT report and counters it with a similar survey conducted by the AA, which asked the same question but phrased differently. In this survey, only 26 percent wished to keep the current regime, with 44 percent keen to change to four years and the remainder ambivalent. Luke Bodset of the AA press office was quoted as saying: “Cars now have the ability to ‘squawk’ and tell drivers if there is a problem with the tyres or battery as well as more fundamental mechanical maladies” he told the paper.

Neither tyre pressure nor states of battery charge are part of the MOT, but his sentiment seemed to chime with a high number of the readers that responded in the the below-the-line comments. “Ridiculous arguments by the motor servicing industry and a change that is long overdue” wrote reader Richard Bassett. Andrew Blowers concurred, writing: “A healthy dose of self-interest from the motor trade then. Modern cars are so well put together and safe that a four years makes perfect sense!”

Not all readers agreed. “South Africa had roadworthy checks only at change of ownership. I don’t recall any checks during 18 years in Botswana” wrote Charles Guerin. “Makes me appreciate the British MOT. At least I have a statistically reasonable chance that the vehicle coming towards me will be able to avoid me”.

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