RoadSafe is urging transport minister Mike Penning, to maintain the MoT test as an annual check up for vehicles.
The Government announced in July that there will be a total review of all vehicle testing this year.
Penning said the Government is concerned the industry is testing low mileage, well maintained cars too often, while at the same time missing out on cars and light commercial vehicles that have high annual mileages.
In 2008, the Department for Transport said the MoT failure rate was high, at 35%. Between 2009 and 2010, the failure rate continued its steady increase to 37%.
Despite this, the DfT is looking into reducing the required frequency of tests to fall in line with Europe.
In the UK, vehicles must have their first test within three years of registration, and annual tests thereafter. As a minimum, EU law requires vehicles to have their first test when they are four years old and subsequent tests every two years.
Most European countries follow the EU minimum requirement and there is pressure on the UK to do the same.
RoadSafe believes this will lead to more crashes, caused by poorly maintained vehicles.
Testers in the UK identify 8.5 million cars with defects every year. In its own review of the MoT in 2008, the DfT said reducing the test’s frequency would significantly increase the number of unroadworthy cars and casualties.
Vehicle owners are expected to service their vehicles between tests, but there is evidence that many drivers fail to. The Tyre Industry Federation says 12% of tyres are illegal on replacement.
RoadSafe director Adrian Walsh said: “Many owners just don’t realise that tyres are a vital part of the braking system. They are one of several essential safety features that drivers seldom check.
“An annual MoT is vital for picking up these problems. RoadSafe joins the Tyre Industry Federation, and other campaigners, with a warning to Government, that extending the period between MoT tests will put lives at risk.”
One argument for increasing the time before a vehicle’s first MoT and reducing the frequency of subsequent tests, is that modern vehicles are more reliable. RoadSafe shares the view that newer vehicles are usually more dependable, but believes this is a separate issue from the MoT.
Roadsafe said: “The responsibility for a vehicle’s roadworthiness lies with the owner. No matter how well a vehicle is made, if the owner fails to take appropriate care of it, it will become unsafe.”