Everyone in possession of an on-road vehicle should be familiar with the practice of scheduling a Ministry of Transport (MOT) test, as well as the importance of doing so. Getting an MOT is fairly accessible, despite the implied cost causing particular pressure in today’s context. The test represents the principle way for the UK Government to guarantee that a vehicle is certified to reach the minimum road safety and environmental impact standards which are required by law. If a vehicle fails an MOT test, then necessary maintenance for any standout faults or issues are required to be arranged. The consequences of driving a vehicle which has failed to meet the governmental standards are penalties such as fines, driving bans, and invalidated insurance, with the degree of punishment depending on the severity of the case.

While there is a great significance attached to passing an MOT test for all vehicle owners, the majority being those who use a car to commute etc., this level of significance is further amplified for those within the transportation industry. Namely, because it is one way in which a fleet’s compliance is gauged. Fleet compliance is an area of fleet management that attracts a lot of focus from managers, due to a disregard for the set rules and regulations holding the potential to undermine the quality of an entire fleet of vehicles.

Indeed, compliance is not just about avoiding fines and other related penalties, even granted that these are naturally undesirable. Foremostly, compliance concerns road safety and a modern vehicle’s environmental suitability. And so, if there is a breach in your fleet’s adherence, it’s likely to be deemed dangerous from two perspectives. As such, it’s vital that all fleet managers are informed on all present adjustments. For this reason, we’ve put together this piece which goes over the latest MOT changes that fleet managers should be aware of.

MOT Consultation

Early into 2023, the UK Government launched a consultation concerning potential changes to the current MOT system. The necessity for changes to how MOTs are carried out appears to have principally arisen out of its age. That is, that a more modern approach should be adopted, given that the test has remained relatively unchanged for a substantial number of years. 

The consultation in January 2023 was originally meant to be concluded on the 28th of February 2023, but was later delayed up until March 22, 2023. We’ve yet to see the proposed changes in action, i.e., whether the consultation was fruitful. However, There are two points in particular that fleet managers should have been quick to note. Specifically, a change to the date for a vehicle’s initial MOT as well as those which are designed to make MOTs ‘fit for the future’. Fleet managers will quickly see that the latter falls in line with the industry’s latest trends.

Date extension for first MOT

The MOT test was introduced in the 1960s, and since the tail-end years of the decade has stipulated a three year threshold for a vehicle’s required first MOT. The purpose being, to assure the safety of a vehicle by measuring the effectiveness of safety-critical components like its tyres and brakes. Despite the recognisable utility of basic testing such as this, the Government sees the nature of MOTs as rather outdated. Fundamentally, because there have been major vehicular advancements since the aforementioned date, especially in recent years.

Followingly, vehicles developed in the current year are less liable to experience faults. In essence, up-to-date results show that fewer vehicles are failing their MOT tests, and that there have been general decreases in the number of casualties in incidents involving cars. In addition, there have been reductions in the scale of collisions where vehicle defects are the most highly contributing factor. 

Consequently, the Government is now considering extending this three year threshold to four years. This was a consideration in 2017 too, although the evidence base was seemingly insufficient as to warrant the motion. Evidently, there is now a larger mass of evidence to support the case, and so it’s something fleet managers need to keep a close eye on. There have been select concerns surrounding this change, chiefly because it may turn out that a higher percentage of unroadworthy vehicles will be present. Albeit, the inherent benefit is that fleet managers will be paying less in the long-term for testing. The projected figure for motorists are savings of around £100 million per year in MOT fees (Source). Having said this, it still remains integral to carry out regular vehicle maintenance, lest your fleet’s safety standards slip.

MOTs that are fit for the future

Alongside vehicles now being better constructed than they used to be, their internal makeup is also quite variable. Namely, more vehicles are being made which use alternative fuels or are wholly powered by electricity, as opposed to those that have an internal combustion engine and use petrol/diesel. This increase in the number of hybrid and electric vehicles (EVs) being produced is a facet of the transportation sector which shows no signs of slowing down. After all, our climate crisis is only worsening and so there is a singular push towards more sustainable modes of transport. The fact that the UK is legally bound to a 2030 Climate Target Plan which aims to reduce the population’s CO2 emissions to at least 55% below 1990 levels should act as a signpost for where the industry as a whole is heading.

Already, many organisations within fleet management have been making the transition to a greener fleet, and so may be unsurprised to hear that the Government is accounting for this attitude when considering on-road vehicles generally. The manifestation of this outlook, pertinent to MOTs, is the proposal that there should be a boost in the monitoring of a vehicle's emissions, as part of a direct strategy to tackle the greenhouse gases we give off in total. What this means for fleet managers is, if the Government is adapting to vehicular technological advancements, then all fleets will inevitably have to adopt the switch to EVs.

To summarise, it’s possible that the threshold for a vehicle’s first MOT will be extended to four years, and that there will be tighter regulations surrounding the sustainability of on-road vehicles collectively. The prospective benefits might equate to significant cost savings for fleets, in addition to a lessened carbon footprint for the industry. It’s a central responsibility for fleet managers to be aware of changes such as we’ve discussed here, and make the appropriate implementations. If you’re interested in having expert advice at hand, then be sure to make an enquiry into MICHELIN Connected Fleet’s services today. For more material, feel free to browse our resources center.