New cars will be required to undergo their first MOT test after four years instead of the current three from 2018 should a government proposal be adopted.
The current three-year period needed before a car's first MOT was introduced in 1967, when it was reduced from 10 years. Now the government says "safer technology and improved manufacturing" have resulted in "new vehicles that stay roadworthy for longer".
The government suggests the proposals, which will now undergo public consultation subject to being adopted in 2018, will save motorists around £100 million per year. The MOT test is undertaken by 2.2 million cars for the first time each year, with faulty lights the most common cause of these cars failing according to the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA).
The government says that, since 2006, the number of accidents involving a three- or four-year-old vehicle where a defect in the vehicle was a contributing factor has fallen from 155 to 57 in 2015, a drop of almost two thirds.
The DVSA is running a campaign to ensure more motorists carry out basic maintenance on their cars that contribute to around half of MOT faults, such as faulty lights, windscreen wipers, low oil levels and tyres with low tread.
Announcing the proposals, 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."
Switching to a four-year period before a first MOT will bring England, Wales and Scotland in line with Northern Ireland, and other European countries including France, Italy, Spain, Ireland, Denmark and Norway.