Concerns Over MoT Changes...

Chancellor George Osborne’s plan to extend the deadlines for newbikes and cars to be MoT tested after four years instead of three has faced criticism from industry experts. The change, which it is claimed could save motorists "more than £100 million per year", would see cars travelling an average of around 8000 miles more before facing any form of compulsory inspection. Bridgestone’s north region managing director Robin Shaw is urging a rethink. He said: "Our roads would be more dangerous than ever if changes are made."

While motorcyclists would we hope – be quite capable of recognising excessive wear on their tyres, Shaw believes the added 12 months will result in more cars running on illegal tyres below the 1.6mm tread depth limit, increasing the risks to all road users. When Highways England checked more than 100,000 tyres in England, Scotland and Wales, 27% were below the 1.6mm limit, with 39% between 1.6mm and 2mm.

Figures from the Department for Transport, as presented by TyreSafe in July, state that tyres were the number one contributing factor to killed or seriously injured (KSI) cases in the UK between 2009 and 2013 (36%) in terms of vehicle defects – more so than braking and steering faults (31% and 16% respectively).

According to the Department for Transport, 981 people were either killed or seriously injured as a result of dangerous tyres, and Bridgestone believes that a law to lengthen the first MoT test to four years will only add to the figures, particularly when the average life of a car tyre is said to be around three years. Shaw also pointed out that the cost of tyre-related road casualties in the same period stood at £435,593,773, (according to more figures from the DFT) and argued that the figure would only rise due to tyres coming to the end of their life – and motorists not checking them.

"The tyre industry spends a great deal of time attempting to educate motorists about checking their tyres regularly, but we know that one in five drivers have never checked their tyre tread depth," he said. "When coupling this with the fact that a car tyre often needs replacing within four years due to wear and illegal tread depth, you can see that this proposal could have disastrous consequences, with our roads becoming more dangerous than ever."

"We firmly believe that the change in lawwould negatively impact upon the number of road deaths and casualties."