The History of the MOT

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The History of the MOT

What actually is an MOT? Let the team at A1 Clutches explain, an MOT is a yearly examination of cars and light commercial vehicles (LCV) ensuring they meet the minimum standard as set out by the Ministry Of Transport (the MOT). It is required on almost all vehicles over 3 years old.

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Where does the MOT come from?

It all started in post war Britain, in the early 1960. In the late 1950s a lot of the cars and LCVs on the road were bought second hand, and many were from the 1940s – which, due to their age meant they were not in the best ‘road worthy’ condition.  The government could stand by no longer. Under the leadership of Minister of Transport, Mr Ernest Marples, the Ministry of Transport declared that all vehicles over 10 years old must have steering, lights and brakes tested every year. Initially known as the Ten Year Test, it became known as the Ministry of Transport test – Shortened to MOT over time.

The Ten Year Test period was shortened over time until it got to its current 3 year format in 1967. Since then however the MOT test has been expanded significantly, providing a comprehensive testing of all vital components in a vehicle. Since the 1990s MOT testing has also featured highly sophisticated emission testing.

Another significant change in MOT testing, occurred when Britain became a member of the European Union. All vehicle testing is governed by EU Directives, which set the minimum standard – however each member state has the authority to increase upon these minimums as they see fit. For example the testing frequency in many European countries is every two years, but in Britain the test is mandatory annually.

Since the commencement of the MOT testing, it has been carried out by licenced practitioners across the country. The Government wanted to make sure motorists had local access to the test for their vehicle, rather than causing inconvenience with the test only being available at regional centres. Today it is estimated there are over 19,000 Testing Stations, manned by over 50,000 MOT testers.

The Government remains ultimately responsible for overseeing MOT testing, although the Government operates the scheme through an Executive Agency  called DVSA – The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency. DVSA was previously known as VOSA – the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency. The chief executive of DVSA reports directly to Parliament, and also to the Secretary of State for Transport.

Garages are authorised to conduct the testing on behalf of the DVSA, the garages, their owners or partners (however it is set up) become the Authorised Examiner (AE). The AE can then nominate technicians to conduct the test on customers’ cars. The nominated technician is then known as the NT – Nominated Tester.

Aspiring MOT testers must have a certain formal qualification or sit a special examination set by DVSA.  They must then attend a two day DVSA course to ‘calibrate their skills’

Funnily enough, even though they are fully responsible for MOT testing standards, DVSA (nor VOSA before them) have ever set any approved syllabus of training to train MOT testers. Instead they have a team of Vehicle Examiners, about 100 in total, who visit garages to evaluate the performance of AEs and NTs.  Now a team of 100 people hardly seems enough to regularly test 19,000+ stations and over 50,000 testers does it?!

So the next time you see TV program or read a news article about dodgy MOT testers, remember – it’s actually the Governments fault for not checking their practitioners frequently enough! Having said that over 100 Authorised Examiners were struck off last year – and another 160 were handed ‘Failure’ forms of their own!

To make sure you don’t fall foul of a cowboy, make sure to get your MOT test done at A1 Clutches. We have Nominated Testers at all of our branches with many years of experience under their belts. We are committed to continued training throughout our technician’s careers and as a result our MOT testers are among the best in the business.