Road Safety News

New MoT rules reflect technological advancements

Wednesday 20th March 2013

New MoT rules came into force on 20 March which attempt to reflect the growth of in-car electronics.

The changes bring Britain into line with the rest of Europe, but the AA has warned that many drivers will fail to comply with the new rules.

Andy Smith, the AA’s patrolman of the year, said: “If you’ve been happily ignoring a warning light because it’s not part of the MoT, these changes mean your car could now be on the MoT scrap heap or you’ll need to fork out on expensive repairs.

“While it could have expensive consequences for someone running an old car on a tight budget, these changes are long overdue as airbags, for example, have been widely fitted since the mid-nineties. It’s important that these systems remain safe and effective throughout the life of the vehicle.

“A typical modern car has 40 or more computers and a level of technical sophistication a world away from that seen in the early 1990s when the MOT test last underwent a major revision. These changes are important and help bring the MOT test in line with 21st century car technology.”

Other changes will include tests on dashboard lights; tyre pressure monitoring systems; car seats; car doors; airbags; electronic stability controls; the speedometer; and the catalytic convertor.

Alastair Peoples, Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VSOA) chief executive,  said: “The MOT test is designed to make sure that a vehicle is fit to be on the road and so it needs to be updated to reflect new vehicle technology.

"We at VOSA have worked closely with the industry to make sure they are prepared for the changes; and testers have been letting customers know about the new items at the MOT test for more than a year to make sure they are ready for the changes.”

Click here for more information.


Comment on this story
Report a reader comment

What's your view - comment on this story:

I confirm that I have read and accept the moderation policy and house rules relating to comments posted on this website.
Your comment:
Your name and location:
Your email:

I am so fed up with the yearly MOT. This s such an inefficient test. 60 minutes per car and this every year. This a total joke, waste of time and money.

The German TÜV tests normal cars (including English cars from the seventies) every two years. Some newer cars every 3 years. So why are we having to have a yearly MOT? After all there is plenty of legislation in place which puts the responsibility of driving a roadworthy car clearly onto both the driver and keeper of the car.

Having a valid MOT is no "Get out of Jail for Free Card"; even if you crash the car on your way back from the MOT station after passing it and it turns out to be due to a technical failure for which your car should not have passed the MOT.

The ultimate responsibility of driving a roadworthy car will always be the responsability of the driver and the keeper. If you are not the registered keeper but just the driver, check the car over before you drive it!
Germish - Cirencester

Agree (12) | Disagree (6)

This has effectively meant that there is now a legal requirement for a vehicle to have an airbag if it was originally fitted as the MOT tester will refuse to issue a certificate if the airbag light is on. This is creating/changing the law by the backdoor.
Rick, Portishead

Agree (10) | Disagree (6)

i drive a 24 year old Jaguar. The dimmed headlight stopped working. Dashboard bulb showed a system failure. A new bulb did not solve the problem. A £168 bulb failure module did do (there is a module on each bulb cluster). My older cars had dashboard warning lights for the bulbs, they did not have "bulb failure modules" though. Half the electronic tat on a car these days is just needless showboating the main pain of which, in the case of dash warning lights, is causing distraction/panicking of said driver and annoyance of driver when they know that system works fine anyway. Start building Mark3 Cortinas again.
Edward, london

Agree (19) | Disagree (2)

Just phoned VOSA (now DVSA from April 2014) on 0300 123 9000 since drivers electric window on kit car refuses to function properly. Intention is to remove fuse so that window is locked in closed position. VOSA (DVSA) advise that electric side windows are NOT part of the MOT and is not a reason for MOT fail.
extremeguru, Aberdeen

Agree (13) | Disagree (0)

There are certain items in the MOT that are a waste of time and have no effect on safety. Number plates is a prime example. On the other hand the spare wheel is not included but has to be legal if fitted. Another catch 22 is that a lot of modern vehicles have the skinny emergency tyres. If a vehicle has it fitted during the MOT it will fail due to different size wheels on the same axle so why are they legal to use because the purpose of the MOT is to determine if the vehicle is roadworthy? Another example is emergency fuel caps. These are a MOT failure as they do not seal correctly so why are they legal to buy and use? There are other items that should be in the test but are not. Visors are a item not included but should be and I also believe that windscreen demisters should also work which means that the heater motor should work and the flap that directs air to the screen. Heated screens would not need to be tested as the demisting is provided by the heater system.
Kevin Cozens. Swansea

Agree (9) | Disagree (5)

There are many 10 year old cars driving around with the airbag warning light illuminated on the dashboard. In many cases it is the warning system that is defective not the airbag itself. Some cars throw up an error signal after a flat battery. Seems like a lot of people going to have to fork out £50 or more to have the diagnostic reset by a specialist prior to the MOT. Another charge for the hard pressed motorist.
Pat, Wales

Agree (36) | Disagree (2)

The DfT briefing suggests that the test cost will not rise and: "The additional test items will not significantly lengthen the test time and new test equipment costs are minimal."

Perhaps those who are against this change would also have the garage not bother checking headlights (after all it's daytime when we do the MOT test) or even brakes (I'm a careful driver mate, not crashed for 15 years, and I don't seem to use them too often).

These rules stem from a EU Directive and so we are now on par with everyone else.
pete, liverpool

Agree (4) | Disagree (14)

Is a modern car, which does not have a current MoT because one of its safety devices has failed, therefore deemed to be less safe to be on the road than an older car which didn't have that particular safety feature fitted in the first place? Taking ABS as anexample, there are cars still on the road which never had ABS but no-one is suggesting they be removed from the roads, however a car which has ABS but temporarily non-operational is deemed unsafe.
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

Agree (44) | Disagree (3)

If a vehicle is unsafe (such as faulty ESC) then the vehicle should only pass an MOT failure after the faulty system is repaired or disconnected.

No vehicle, so far as I'm aware, has ever required by law any of the following: ABS, ESC, airbags, heated rear window, catalytic convertor (unless emissions are outside limits), tyre pressure monitors, electric windows, sunroof etc. These are all extras that, with this new MOT, may become liabilities for the owners.

This more intensive MOT test will be a considerable financial burden on society that means having fewer Police officers or NHS nurses or an even higher national debt in order to pay for it.

If we want to buy safe used cars for our families, and we cannot do the checks ourselves, we must pay for an inspection rather than rely on the MOT (which is not a guarantee of safety anyway).
Dave, Slough

Agree (23) | Disagree (4)

I would imagine a badly calibrated ESC could lead to a loss of control during braking.

MOT test is about buyer certainty not just owner certainty. I for one want to know these things work, particularly when buying a second hand vehicle that I will put my children in.
pete, liverpool

Agree (3) | Disagree (13)

These new rules, along with the new tax bands, are bad for the environment and bad for the economy.

The government needs to start thinking before acting. The most environmental drivers keep their cars going year after year, rather than scrapping them and having new ones built. The MOT only needs to cover basic safety checks (brakes, steering, lights etc) and anything not fundamental (airbags, ESC, tyre pressure monitoring, catalytic convertor, etc) should merely have to be disconnected to pass the MOT.

Most drivers buy foreign cars so the new rules (MOT, tax, congestion charges) will lead to perfectly serviceable cars being scrapped (depriving local businesses of repair work) and cash flowing abroad.

In over 20 years I have never required ABS, ESC, airbags etc to avoid injury and, while I value these systems, it's better to maintain an old car, thereby saving the environment and protecting our economy.
Dave, Slough

Agree (67) | Disagree (6)