“Maintaining vehicle road worthiness and servicing is one of the most important costs of running a car for most motorists.
I am today announcing the Governmentâ€™s intention to work with industry and motoring organisations to improve the motoristâ€™s confidence and experience when they have to take their car, motorcycle or other private vehicle to a garage.
Motorists are generally not experts in the mechanics, electronics or component parts of their vehicles â€” what matters to them is that the vehicle is safe to be on the road, that they are paying a reasonable price and that what they are paying for is necessary work carried out to a good standard.
Motorists want reliable servicing and MOTs from garages they trust and it is in the interests of reputable garages to deliver to a high quality.
Almost every motorist has to visit a garage or other authorised testing station at least once a year for their vehicle to undergo an MOT test â€” and for many people, that minimum statutory spot check of a vehicleâ€™s roadworthiness is either combined with an annual service or leads to repairs and further work.
Each year in Great Britain some 35 million MOTs take place at some 21,000 authorised premises â€” the annual cost to motorists of the test alone is in the region of Â£1 .5 billion. The UK car service and repair sector is worth around Â£9 billion per year to the GB economy.
The garage sector is regulated in several ways. The sector has to comply with business laws and consumer protection legislation. The MOT scheme is regulated by the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA) of the Department for Transport.
Self-regulation has an important role to play also. For example, around 6500 garages self-regulate their customer service through the Motor Codes Ltd Code on Service and Repair which has full approval status under the OFT Approved Codes System. And nearly 1000 garages have been accredited with the BSI Kitemark scheme for automotive services.
The package of measures I am announcing today does not duplicate these existing controls and arrangements. But they will add value for the motorist and enhance their experience when having to deal with garages whether for an MOT test or more generally.
I am taking two immediate steps today. Firstly, having listened closely to the very many views put forward and considered the available evidence, I have decided that I am not going to carry out further work in relation to relaxing the first test date or the frequency of testing.
Secondly, I am publishing for the first time today information gathered by VOSA about the standards of MOT testing. VOSAâ€™s MOT compliance survey 2010/11 showed that, despite large parts of the MOT test being subjective, 88% of testers were applying correct and consistent standards. There were 12% of testers who had their overall assessment of the vehicleâ€™s roadworthiness challenged by VOSA, suggesting there is still room for improvement. Publication of this data represents a considerable increase in transparency on the accuracy of MOT tests.”