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TyreSafe: MOT changes would see more defective tyres on UK roads

The Department for Transport for Great Britain last week announced proposals to delay a vehicle’s first MOT by a year in a bid to cut costs for drivers.

This would mean that new cars, motorbikes and vans would be required to have their first MOT four years after they are registered, instead of three.

The DfT and the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) said as vehicle technologies continue to improve, vehicles become more reliable for longer, and that such a proposal would not lead to increased road casualties.

UK charity TyreSafe has criticised the proposals, saying that extending the MOT will only lead to an increase in the number of defective vehicles and tyres on Britain’s roads.

It also said that while Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) are making significant improvements to road safety, they all depend on tyres being roadworthy to work.

“Advances in vehicle and tyre technology makes modern vehicles safer than they ever have been. However, tyres are in constant contact with the road environment and subject to damage on any journey,” Stuart Lovatt, chairman of TyreSafe said.

“They need to be checked regularly and we know too many drivers don’t take tyre maintenance seriously – and, in fact, wait for an MOT failure before replacing unroadworthy tyres.

“Over two million cars fail their MOT each year with over one million MOT failures because of serious defects. All of these failures pose a serious safety risk and we need to do more to ensure vehicles on our roads are safe and legal.”

According to the DfT’s Reported Road Casualties GB report for 2021, there were 1,759 personal injury collisions recorded of which 491 were because of defective or illegal tyres.

There were also 21 people killed as a result of being involved in incidents where vehicle defects were identified as contributing factors. In total, 418 people were killed or seriously injured in Britain in 2021 because of incidents where vehicle defects were identified. Of those, 111 were due to tyres alone.

“Clearly, extending the first MoT from three to four years, or indeed making it a requirement every other year, only increases the risk of incidents,” Lovatt added.

“The casualty figures prove hundreds of lives are changed each year as a result of incidents involving vehicle defects. We should work to reduce those, not increase the likelihood of creating more.”