Following the second world war and into the late 1950s most people
purchased second hand cars and light vans, many of which were
originally manufactured before 1940 and vast numbers of which were
not in ‘good’ condition, nor were they regularly serviced. As a
result there were numerous vehicles being used on the road which
were potentially dangerous. In particular they often had defective
brakes, lights and/or steering.
As a result of this, by 1960 the then Ministry of Transport
decided that all vehicles over ten years old should have their
brakes, lights and steering checked every year. This became known as
the “ten year Test”, or alternatively the Ministry Of Transport
Test – which became shortened to ‘MOT’. The Testable age
was progressively reduced to 3 years by April 1967.
Over the years the MOT Test has been extended and expanded to the
comprehensive examination which is today’s MOT Test. And the Test is
developing all the time. Significantly since the 1990s has been the
development of highly sophisticated emissions Testing for vehicles
with catalytic converters fitted.
A significant development of the MOT has resulted from Britain being
members of the European Union. All vehicle Testing is now decided by
EU Directives which set minimum standards for vehicle Testing in
member states. Each state can, however, decide to install more
stringent vehicle Testing regulations in their own domestic
regulations under the EU principle of subsidiary. In many EU
countries, for example, Testing is carried out every two years – the
basic EU minimum, whereas in Britain it is on an annual basis.
There are now over 19,000 Testing Stations in Britain and 50,000 MOT