February 7, 2023
Quarterly demand for MOTs is beginning to resemble the pre-pandemic curve again. Compared to the chaos caused by the covid extension, this more consistent demand for MOTs throughout the year is much easier to manage. But a new government proposal to reduce the frequency of MOTs to a 4:2:2 schedule would throw the industry into chaos all over again.
The covid-19 pandemic was unprecedented in the way it upended our collective routines and structures. The government had to make extraordinary decisions to keep people apart, including the covid-19 MOT extension. Experts warned the repercussions of the extension could persist for up to five years. Three years on, as the MOT demand curve begins to level off, we now appear to be stepping towards further unintended consequences of the pandemic. Changed driving habits of the nation and lower mileage by most vehicles have contributed to the government’s 2023 proposal to reduce MOT frequency from 3:1:1 to 4:2:2. Another massive curve ball for the industry.
The proposal stems from government analysis of MTS data which must suggest that undertaking an MOT at both year three and on an annual basis after that is no longer necessary. There could be several reasons underpinning this assumption. One could be the significant impact on driving habits caused by the pandemic. A massive increase in employees working from home is a trend that has remained, even since the end of Covid restrictions. Whole months went by during national lockdowns where people were not permitted to travel away from their local areas. Swathes of vehicles were left unused on driveways and pavements throughout the country. A massive reduction in vehicle wear and tear is a natural consequence of these changed driving habits.
There are also factors stemming from our actions in the MOT bay. Are we all taking full responsibility for recording accurate statistics up the reporting chain? Do you always MOT before a service or any modifications have been made to a vehicle? Do you record minor adjustments during the test correctly using the PRS system? All these small and seemingly insignificant habits have the power, en mass, to point to the potential for broader policy change at the highest level.
We are already operating within a rapidly changing industry from a technological perspective. Electric Vehicles are on the increase, but we are yet to accumulate the necessary data to inform solid policy-making around this new technology. The dust is yet to settle fully after the significant upheaval of the Covid-19 pandemic; our social structures and routines are still somewhat in flux. Without the predictability of a stable industry landscape over the last few years, it seems unwise to assume the industry’s needs and prematurely make sweeping policy changes.
For the last forty years, car owners have become used to the rhythm of seeking an MOT each year from year three. Many car owners arrange an annual service at the same time to ensure their car remains in optimum condition. This positive conditioning of Britain’s drivers has kept vehicle safety and maintenance centre-stage, making Britain’s roads safer. Clear and compelling data must drive any major change in this area. While navigating this post-pandemic landscape of tremendous technological advances, our data set point is naturally mutable and cannot be reliably used to justify such a monumental change.
One of the most complex parts of being a business leader of a brick-and-mortar business like a garage is forecasting work volume and arranging business resources accordingly. From the bar chart above, we can predict that quarterly MOT volumes may return to something resembling the pre-pandemic demand curve by the end of 2024. This much more predictable and consistent workflow would be a welcome relief for all MOT providers, especially given the 31st March compliance deadline for completing annual training and exams.
If the government proposal to delay the first MOT until year four goes ahead, this will have a massive impact on all in the industry. The DVSA predicts this will result in 1.3 million-3 million fewer MOT tests each year, with lost industry revenue of approximately £56.2 million – £123.6 million each year. This conservative estimate does not consider the additional move to a biennial test. This seismic blow to the industry has the power to create many job losses and put many MOT providers out of business. Having survived the challenging industry conditions over the last few years, the last thing we need is this additional burdensome policy change.
Now is our moment to speak up against this ludicrous proposal and have our say on the MOT’s future. You can participate in the government consultation on his and other issues until the end of February 2023 here.
If you believe in the following statements, please use the links to add your name to these government petitions supporting the future of our industry.
Set a single standard price for the MOT test. Sign petition here.
Require emissions testing for all hybrids. Sign petition here.
Increase weight limit for Class 7 vehicles. Sign petition here.
It only takes a minute to take action and every signature counts.