Claims that the high pass requirements of the UK's MOT test are bad for motorists are fatuous, according to the Retail Motor Industry Federation (RMIF).

A recent statement by the Institute of Advance Motorists (IAM) Motoring Trust cited the fact that the UK has a higher rate of first MOT test failures compared to other European countries performing an MOT-style test, as evidence that garages are using the MOT to solicit unnecessary work.

Percentage of cars that fail their first MOT UK 21.6 per cent Switzerland 17.5 per cent France 5.6 per cent

The IAM Trust goes onto claim that there is no need for the UK MOT test to go beyond the European minimum standard, and that the Government should go ahead with its desire to delay the first MOT test until vehicles are four years old. They would then only be checked every two years (4-2-2). Vehicles currently receive their first MOT test at three years old, and are then re-tested annually (3-1-1).

Stephen Coles, Head of MOT Operations for the RMIF, believes that the UK's test regime should be kept as it is: ‘Thanks to the high requirements of the 3-1-1 MOT test, the UK has one of the best road safety records in Europe. Most other countries check fewer components and have a less rigorous method of inspection, so it is inevitable that less defects are detected, even after four years have elapsed.'

The MOT test is highly monitored too. Coles explains: ‘MOT stations are rigorously enforced by the Vehicle and Operator Service Agency (VOSA) who have wide powers to enforce the test standards and re-inspect vehicles to ensure that testing is conducted correctly, and thus ensure road safety. Than can, and will, remove any stations from the scheme that do not meet their requirements. All MOT test stations are under constant review by VOSA to ensure they are applying the test criteria correctly.'

The Driver, Vehicle and Operator Group Private Motorist Survey as reported in VOSA's annual report 2006/2007 showed that 94 per cent of motorists who had taken their vehicle for an MOT test in the previous 12 months were satisfied with the quality of service they received.

Coles adds: The UK's network of 19,000 MOT stations allows motorists to have a test completed at a location and time suitable for them. Uniquely they also have the benefit of being able to have any necessary repairs carried out without inconvenience and additional re-testing costs if they desire. It is a value for money, essential service that should be protected.'