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Who to believe??

October 30, 2011

 

Cockermouth, England –  A another week and yet another campaign…

This time around twenty-five organisations representing motorists, road safety campaigners, cyclists, small businesses, insurers and the motor industry, but strangely not motorcyclists or scooterists, are leaping to defend the “possible” scrapping of the annual UK vehicle road worthiness test. Better known as the MOT test.

Called PRO-MOTE the campaign is taking on the UK Governments proposal to alter the current MOT regime, under which new cars, vans and motorcycles are tested after three years and every year thereafter (3-1-1). To a system which tests new cars, vans and we assume motorcycles at four years and then at two-yearly intervals thereafter (4-2-2). A regime that, as PRO-MOTE points out, is common in those European Union (EU) countries that have a vehicle road worthiness testing requirement.

The corner-stone of PRO-MOTE’s campaign is of course a report. Any good campaign has to have a report and in this case it’s called “Dangerous, Expensive and Unwanted: The case against reducing the frequency of MOT testing.”

The report argues that:

The annual increase in deaths and serious injuries resulting from more defective cars being on the road could be up to 3,000.
Any saving to the motorist in terms of fees would be far outweighed by likely increases in insurance premiums and repairs.
94% of drivers think the MOT Test is very (71%) or quite (23%) important to road safety.
Carbon emissions are likely to increase if annual tests are scrapped
Up to 40,000 jobs in the MOT industry, including a large number of apprenticeships, would be at risk

Interesting stuff until of course you realise that twenty of the twenty-five organisations supporting PRO-MOTE are, in one way or another, profiting from the MOT. So the PRO-MOTE campaign is really about lost income and profits?

Then there’s the UK Governments position. Back in 2008 the Department for Transport (DfT) produced a report which indicated that there would be a significant rise in road casualties’ if the MOT went to a 4-2-2 regime. Thus the then Labour Government strongly supported by the Conservatives, then in opposition, decided to leave the MOT on a 3-1-1 basis.

Roll forward to 2011 when the Conservative Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Transport, Mike “The Bike” Penning, commissioned the Transport Research Laboratory (TRL) to report on the MOT frequency issue. Using a different methodology to the 2008 DfT report the TRL concluded that there would be lower overall effect on  road casualties, if a 4-2-2 MOT regime was introduced,  than had been shown by the DfT 2008 report. Which led to the then transport Secretary, Phillip Hammond, ordering a review on MOT frequency as part of his undertaking to end “the war on motorists”.

Lets not forget the European aspect. The European Commission (EC) is minded to make proposals to introduce a mandatory Europe wide MOT test. Its called a Periodical Technical Inspection (PTI). Trouble is no one seems to know the exact criteria. So its is quite possible that the UK could be considering introducing an MOT or PTI that will not meet the EC requirements.

Who to believe? Why did the Government go there. If it isn’t broke why fix it.

A paradox is a seemingly true statement or group of statements that lead to a contradiction or a situation which seems to defy logic or intuition.

Enjoy your riding.

© Back Roads Rider 2011

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