The regional boss of the world’s largest tyre-maker has said that moving new cars’ first MOT test to four years instead of the current three would leave British roads “more dangerous than ever.”
Bridgestone claims that the average life of a tyre is around three years, but many drivers won’t even think to check their tyres’ condition.
Robin Shaw, Bridgestone’s north region Managing Director, has expressed concern at Chancellor George Osborne’s plans to extend the first MOT deadline to four years.
The Government has claimed that the move would save motorists ‘more than £100 million per year.’
However, Mr Shaw believes the added 12 months will result in more cars running on illegal tyres below the 1.6mm tread depth limit.
When Highways England recently checked more than 100,000 tyres in England, Scotland and Wales, 27% were below the 1.6mm limit and 39% between 1.6mm and 2mm.
He said: “We oppose these proposals, as we believe they will lead to an increase in the number of unsafe and illegal vehicles on our roads.
“The government is claiming that by considering this change, motorists will save money because modern day cars don’t need their vehicles tested as often.
“The worry is that within the 12 month extension, motorists will be driving around with defects that are actually more costly to repair – and significantly more dangerous as a result.”
Figures from the Department for Transport, as presented by TyreSafe in July, actually state that tyres are the number one contributing factor to killed or seriously injured cases in the UK over the past five years (36%) in terms of vehicle defects, more so than braking and steering faults (31% and 16% respectively).
According to the DFT, 981 people were either killed or seriously injured as a result of dangerous tyres over the past five years, and Bridgestone believes that delaying the first MOT test to four years will only add to the “sombre” figures.