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Motorists fear that plans to scrap annual MOT tests could lead to a rise in mechanical failures, a new survey has found.

Under government proposals, MOT tests on vehicles every two years, instead of the current system of annual checks.

But a survey by road safety charity GEM Motoring Assist has found that the majority of drivers are against the changes.

Results from poll for MOT changed

Of those polled, 52 per cent said they want to keep the current annual MOT system, compared to 26 per cent who said they would want it to change, while 22 per cent were unsure.

The main source of opposition to biannual tests was the fear that it could lead to a greater number of breakdowns, with nearly 50 per cent citing this issue.

This in turn could see more drivers seeking out replacement car engines and gearbox parts to repair their vehicles.

The survey also revealed that more than half of UK drivers believe that the change in the law would see car maintenance standards deteriorate and feel reassured of their car’s safety and roadworthiness with the current system.

"The results prove that having such a regular service gives the public peace of mind when it comes to driving a safe and reliable vehicle," said GEM chief executive David Williams.

"We know that drivers rarely check their cars themselves and leaving it two years will mean we will have unsafe and sub-standard cars on our roads. The proposed biennial MOT system will undoubtedly have a negative impact on road safety and put more lives at risk unnecessarily every year."

The proposed change would bring the UK in line with rest of Europe, where tests every two years are the norm.

But a consortium of 29 safety organisations, including GEM, as well as motoring groups, retailers and other transport groups, are opposed to the plans, claiming it will cost jobs, lower road safety and lead to more expenses for motorists through repairs.