Widely-reported government plans to double MOT test intervals to two years are “irresponsible” at a point in time when fleets are lengthening replacement cycles, believes FleetCheck.

Peter Golding, managing director at the fleet management software, points out that company cars and vans often cover 20-30,000 miles in a year and the MOT test acts as a valuable backstop to ensure maintenance standards are enforced.

He said: “In my previous life, I owned and managed commercial garage workshops and it is no exaggeration to say that I have seen hundreds of unsafe vehicles kept off the road by the annual MOT test.

“A lot of degradation of a vehicle can and does happen in a year between MOTs and the idea that it is safe to double this time to protect motorists from rising costs is a falsehood that can only compromise road safety.

“This is especially true when it comes to cars and vans that are covering very high mileages. Some businesses work on the basis of their light commercial vehicles driving more than 30,000 miles a year. The vast majority of those operators will have strong maintenance procedures in place but certainly not all of them. It is for instances such as those that the MOT test exists.”

Peter added that a widespread trend had developed over the last couple of years in the light of new vehicle shortages to continue operating existing fleet vehicles for longer, again underlining the need for the MOT test.

“Because fleets can’t get hold of new cars and vans, they are choosing to keep their current fleet for sometimes not just one but two or more years longer than usual. It is now not uncommon to find six year old vans with more than 150,000 miles on the clock being operated by major fleets.

“The MOT test plays an essential role in ensuring that vehicles such as these remain in a roadworthy condition and, in our opinion, it is simply irresponsible to consider a switch to two years.”