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New cars may get 'four year MOT exception'

Except in the first three years, vehicles must undergo an MOT every 12 months Credit: PA

New cars could be allowed to stay on Britain's roads without an MOT for four years, under a government proposal.

At present vehicles must undergo the test after three years, and then be tested every 12 months.

Extending the period before the safety check to four years would save motorists more than £100 million, the Department for Transport (DfT) said.

The policy, which would also apply to motorcycles, could come into effect next year subject to a public consultation.

It would bring Britain into line with Northern Ireland and many other European countries including France, Ireland, Italy, Spain, Denmark and Norway.

The AA said the change would generally be supported by drivers, although the backing would not be "overwhelming".

The DfT believes the development of safer technology and improved manufacturing means new vehicles stay roadworthy for longer.

Its figures show that the annual number of three and four-year-old cars involved in accidents where a vehicle defect was a contributory factor has fallen by almost two-thirds, from 155 in 2006 to 57 in 2015.

Transport Minister Andrew Jones said: "We have some of the safest roads in the world and MOT tests play an important role in ensuring the standard of vehicles on our roads.

"New vehicles are much safer than they were 50 years ago and so it is only right we bring the MOT test up to date to help save motorists money where we can."

More than 2.2 million cars each year take their first test, which costs a maximum of £54.85.

Motorists can be fined up to £1,000 for driving a vehicle without a valid MOT.