Drivers back 3-year MOTS say SMMT survey

British motorists have put their support firmly behind keeping the first MOT test for cars at three years, according to the results of new research published by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

In a YouGov survey more than three quarters (76%) of car owners said the test should continue to take place when the vehicle is three years old.

Currently, all cars in the UK must undergo an MOT test when they reach three years old, and then annually thereafter, but government is proposing to delay the date of the first test for 12 months to when the car is four years old.

However, 83% of car owners showed resistance to the idea, saying that £45 – the typical MOT test fee – is worth the peace of mind that their car is safe, roadworthy and legal.

More than two thirds (68%) also expressed concern that delaying the car’s first MOT could put themselves and other road users in danger.

In its consultation, government suggests that new technology in cars such as tyre pressure monitoring systems, lane departure warning or wet weather tyre performance, is making cars safer. However, while such systems may help prevent or mitigate accidents, they do not change the fundamental underlying operation of wear and tear products such as tyres and brakes, which continue to require regular checks and maintenance.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said, ‘The MOT is an essential check on the safety and roadworthiness of vehicles. Extending the first test for cars from three to four years is not what consumers or industry want given the serious risk posed to road safety and vehicles’ environmental performance. The latest vehicles are equipped with advanced safety systems but it is still critical that wear and tear items such as tyres and brakes are checked regularly and replaced. We urge government to scrap its plans to change a test system that has played a vital role in making the UK’s roads among the safest in the world.’

The most common reasons for three-year-old cars failing the test include essential lights and indicators, tyres, brakes and suspension, while a recent tyre industry investigation found that more than a quarter (27.3%) of car tyres checked were below the legal minimum tread depth of 1.6mm. In addition, 70.4% of the tyres examined were worn below the recommended 2mm minimum and would be unlikely to last another year before reaching the legal minimum through typical use.

The automotive industry believes safety should come ahead of deregulation, cost saving or convenience, and in fact, it wants the test to go further. It is calling for additional checks such as allowing diesel particulate filters to be properly tested; introducing vehicle safety recall checks to remind motorists of outstanding recall work and ensure it is carried out; tightening the check on mileage to aid the fight against clocking; and ensuring the test and testing stations are sufficiently equipped for checking emerging technologies such as automated safety systems.

Your Comments

BEN: Social Health – Supporting an employee through a relationship break up

Most people will go through a relationship break up at some point in their lives and research has found that sadly 48% of marriages end in divorce (ONS 2014). It’s not easy to completely separate work and personal life, so stress and difficulties at home are likely to affect an employee’s work in some way.

The British Chamber of Commerce estimates that divorce costs the British economy around £46 billion each year, negatively impacting business productivity and employee wellbeing.

Organisations generally have no formal policy or procedure and little acknowledgement of what impact divorce and separation can have on a person’s health and wellbeing. Yet, divorce is generally listed as one of the top five most stressful events to take place in a person’s life, along with experiencing a family bereavement.

Whilst an employer should normally try to avoid getting too involved in personal lives, there are a number of ways to support an employee.

How to help
If you know a member of your team is going through a break up, separation or divorce, treat them with sensitivity and compassion. Employers can have a huge influence in ensuring that their employees feel supported when going through relationship breakdowns.

If an employee opens up to you about a break up, remember the following dos and don’ts:


  • Take them to one side for an informal one-to-one chat and ask if everything is OK
  • Listen and wait until they finish talking. You might be the only person there to listen to them
  • If their work has deteriorated, be understanding and mention you have seen a change in their work and ask if they are having any issues in the workplace. If so, try to address this as you would any other work-related issue
  • Limit your conversation to how you can support them at work (e.g. reducing workload, compassionate leave)
  • Most employees who have suffered a bereavement of a family member have the right to a ‘reasonable’ amount of time off work. Divorce and separation can be as traumatic as bereavement as there is often the same sense of loss, so keep this in mind
  • Be understanding if they need to spend time seeking legal advice, going to court hearings etc
  • Arrange regular catch-ups so you can review their workload and the support you provide
  • Let them know they can contact Ben’s free and confidential helpline and online chat for further support and advice.


  • Become directly involved
  • Make promises you can’t keep
  • Put more work on their plate if you don’t think they can cope.

Warning signs
If you’re not sure whether someone is going through a relationship break up or having a hard time at home, you can look out for warning signs. There’s no specific way to tell is someone is having problems in their personal life, however a good place to start is by looking out for changes in their behaviour.

These may include:

  • Changes in productivity – when someone is stressed and distracted they may make uncharacteristic errors, miss deadlines and find it hard to concentrate
  • Absenteeism and timekeeping – a noticeable increase in sick days may be a sign that all is not well at home. You may also notice someone taking longer lunch breaks or arriving late
  • Presenteeism – is the member of staff distracted or missing deadlines? Are they not interacting with the team in their usual way? Is their work not up to their usual standards?
  • Working late – it might be that an employee who was once keen to leave on time is now making excuses to stay late in order to avoid going home
  • Phone calls – is your employee nipping out to take more phone calls than usual? It is natural that people facing challenges at home can bring them into the workplace as they are keen to deal with them as quickly as possible
  • Changes in mood – stress can cause normally mild-mannered individuals to begin snapping at their colleagues or an extrovert to suddenly retreat from social interaction. If someone seems more short-tempered, emotional, tearful or introverted than usual, keep an eye on their behaviour and follow the dos and don’ts above.

Ben exists to provide support for life to the people of the automotive industry and their families. You can download a leaflet to print off and put on your noticeboard or leave in your staff room so colleagues are aware that BEN is there to help them get back on track.

Your Comments

Automechanika Birmingham 2017 to host increased number of international exhibitors

Automechanika Birmingham opens its doors at the NEC from 6-8 June for the second time, to a truly international automotive networking event for the aftermarket and supply chain. Last year’s event proved highly successful for the 250 international companies who attended and managed to secure deals with UK distributors, and for this reason, the number of international companies has increased to 400 for the 2017 event.

The 2016 show


The exhibition will be 70% bigger than in 2016, hosting over 800 exhibitors with 50% of whom are from 35 countries around the globe, gathering to showcase their latest products and new technologies. The exhibition boasts national pavilions from Czech Republic, India, China and Taiwan. Each country pavilion will have offer a vast array of companies covering parts and components for the automotive aftermarket or supply chain, found in Hall 20. Please see the full release online here.

If you haven’t registered already, please register for your badge here.

Your Comments

Ring celebrates regional award success before national spotlight

Ring, the vehicle lighting, auto electric and car accessories supplier to the aftermarket, is celebrating after it was named winner of the Automotive category at the Made in Yorkshire Awards, which took place at the Royal Armouries in Leeds on Thursday 20 April.

Accepting the award, which was presented to the automotive company that the judges deemed to have had the biggest impact on the region over the last twelve-months, means that Ring will now go on to compete in the national Made in UK Awards, which take place in Liverpool in June.

Marketing Manager, Henry Bisson took to the stage to collect the award and comments: “Winning an award like this is real recognition for the time, effort and commitment that everyone at Ring has invested over the last 12-months.

“We place huge emphasis on quality and this is reflected in everything we do; from the development and testing of our products to customer service and beyond. We couldn’t be happier with the outcome and look forward to the national event in June.”

The Automotive Award was one of 10 categories, comprising 37 shortlisted companies. Other awards included Export Award, Food & Drink Award and Manufacturer of the Year – split into two awards, one for businesses with a turnover of less than £25million, one for businesses with a turnover of over £25million.

Arranged and hosted by Insider Media Ltd, the awards celebrate the achievements of companies throughout the Yorkshire region, before the winners from each category come together at the national Made in UK Awards to compete against other successful finalists from the North East, North West, Midlands, South West, South East and Northern Ireland.

Your Comments

CV LOGIX – the new central distribution for G-TRUCK and UAN TRUCK commercial vehicle parts distributors

The new CV LOGIX distribution centre opened its doors for the first time on Monday 20th March. It aims to give G-TRUCK and UAN TRUCK parts distributors fast and cost-effective access to a huge range of commercial vehicle parts and supplies.

MANN-FILTER was the first approved supplier to be added to the CV LOGIX’ portfolio. With a coverage of 91% of the market, the deal with MANN-FILTER means that G-TRUCK & UAN TRUCK parts distributors can supply a wide range of filters at highly competitive prices. A comprehensive range consisting of FAG, TruckTEC, Valeo, Bosch and Luk has since been added to the growing catalogue.

Over the coming months CV LOGIX’ commercial vehicle product range will expand at to cover all its members’ needs.

The new 45,000-square ft facility offers next day delivery to CV parts distributors anywhere in the UK and Ireland. CV LOGIX is located in Cleckheaton near Bradford, with nearly 50 staff.

Phil Dodd, CV manager for Alliance Automotive UK Trading Groups, believes the opening of CV LOGIX brings with it a host of further benefits for member companies.

“This is a great development in terms of the service we can offer members,” says Phil. “To take just one example, members now have access to suppliers and products they may not currently have access to due to current distribution agreements. There is also no minimum order size or value. CV Logix will operate an open box policy on all products. Members can buy products without a commitment to bulk stock. They can buy in smaller numbers from larger suppliers, something they may not have been able to do previously.”

“The new CV LOGIX also gives us opportunities for bulk service deals,” adds Phil. “It also gives depth and range fill opportunities and bulk purchasing. So once again, the idea behind CV LOGIX is that members get a very cost-effective way of obtaining all the parts and supplies they need.”

Your Comments

New DAF CF and XF revealed for 2017

DAF has launched the new generation CF and XF trucks, which feature new drivelines and aerodynamic optimizations, resulting in up to 7% lower fuel consumption.

A new DAF Connect fleet management system will drive even larger efficiency gains and the trucks also feature lower weight for increased payload and an updated interior and exterior design for the highest driver comfort and greatest appeal.

“Building on the excellent reputation for fuel efficiency, reliability and driver comfort the current Euro 6 product range has earned in Europe, DAF has developed a new generation of CF and XF trucks offering the best possible solutions for both the customer and the driver”, said Preston Feight, DAF Trucks president.

A key principle when developing the new drivelines was to reduce engine revs for fuel efficiency. Maximum torque of the PACCAR MX-11 and MX-13 engines has been increased significantly and is already available from 900rpm to allow down speeding of the engine. The top-of-the range PACCAR MX-13 engine produces 530PS and 2,600Nm of torque at 1,000rpm.

Next to engine performance, the performance of the PACCAR Engine Brake has been enhanced. Maximum braking power of the PACCAR MX-11 engine has grown from 320 to 340kW. Braking power has increased 20% between 1,000 to 1,500rpm. Maximum braking power of the MX-13 is no less than 360kW and in the important 1,200 to 1,500rpm range, braking power has increased up to 30%.

The new CF and XF will enter production in the summer of 2017 in 4×2 tractor (FT) and rigid (FA) configurations, the 6×2 tractor FTG and FTP with pusher axles, and the 6×2 rigid with single mounted trailing axle (FAR). Other versions will follow in the autumn.

Your Comments

Could Exeter become a world leader for clever cars?

Exeter is set to become the UK hub for clever car technology.

A £1.8million grant has been awarded to innovative firms behind devices made for internet-enabled cars designed to help cut pollution, track stolen vehicles and tell your mechanic about a fault before you’ve even arrived at the garage.

The project will use an trailblazing in-car device developed by Exeter based Lightfoot designed to reward smoother driving styles, cutting fuel bills and pollutants on the UK’s roads.

Under the project Lightfoot will deliver its groundbreaking “Driver Ecosystem”, which rewards smoother, safer and more efficient drivers with discounts on breakdown cover, car servicing and maintenance, car insurance, car finance and car rental.

It will also allow Lightfoot to introduce technology that can tell a mechanic what’s wrong with the car before he flips the bonnet, automated breakdown provider alerts and location finder; tracker features for lost or stolen cars and business mileage directly downloaded for expenses claims.

Mark Roberts, Managing Director of Lightfoot, said: “The Government grant is a huge endorsement for our technology.

“Our next goal is to take this technology global, getting as many of the billion plus vehicles on the planet to be driven as efficiently as possible. Through the government grant and our work to advance connected car technology, we believe that this ambition is possible.”

The project will also draw on Securious, a cyber security compliance company based in the Exeter Science Park, to find new and better solutions for connected car security.

The cash has been awarded by Innovate UK, part of the Government’s commitment to invest in the Connected Car sector – one of the world’s fastest growing technology areas.

Connected cars have in-vehicle wireless connectivity and is rapidly expanding from luxury models to high-volume mid-market models.

The funding allows a consortium led by Lightfoot, including The Institute of Advanced Motorists, Securious, Revolve Technologies and the University of Bath, to develop connected transportation solutions with a view to managing communications between self-drive and traditionally driven vehicles.

Lightfoot will receive almost £1million from the grant, cementing its position as one of the UK’s leading businesses in the global race to develop connected transportation solutions and places Exeter and the South West as a hub of national excellence.

The funding is one of 38 automotive research and development projects to receive a share of £109 million announced by the business secretary Greg Clark and transport minister John Hayes.

Your Comments

Reminder on speeding fines

Speeding fines for the most serious cases in England and Wales rose by up to 50% with effect from Monday 24 April after new sentencing guidelines took effect.

The previous limit for a speeding fine was 100% of the driver’s weekly wage, up to £1,000 or £2,500 if they were caught on a motorway.

However, under the new guidelines a driver caught doing 41mph in a 20mph zone, or 101mph on a motorway, could be fined 150% of their weekly income – although the upper cash limit will stay the same. The Government announced the increase earlier this year.

Brake, the road safety charity, has welcomed a series of measures to get tough on drivers who break speed limits.

Breaking the speed limit or travelling too fast for conditions was recorded (by police at crash scenes) as a contributory factor of 23% of fatal crashes in 2015.

A Brake survey found that four in 10 (40%) UK drivers admitted they sometimes drive at 30mph in 20mph zones.

Paul Loughlin, a motoring offences solicitor at national law firm Stephensons, said: “The new sentencing guidelines are designed to send out a clear message to drivers whose offences are at the extreme end of the spectrum.

“While penalty points and disqualifications are clearly a deterrent, the sentencing council and the Government clearly believe they are insufficient to deal with the most serious of speeding offences. As such, the decision has been taken to hit them in the pocket.

“Whether or not this will have any effect upon the number of serious speeding incidents occurring on roads in England and Wales, remains to be seen.”

Your Comments

Fly-tipping crisis deepens

Government statistics indicate that the number of fly-tipping incidents has gone up. How could this affect your business?

Figures published by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) reveal that the number of fly-tipping cases has increased 4% on the previous year. In 2015/16 councils across England reported 936,090 cases and the clean-up bill came in at just under £50 million.

A third of all incidents consisted of material which would fill a small van. Plus, much of the waste was deemed hazardous – many loads included asbestos-containing materials.

It is not only the councils’ problem; many others are having to pay out significant amounts to clear material dumped on their land. Farmers in particular are being hit hard. Because their land is often out of sight, it’s a prime target for waste criminals.

The Environment Agency (EA) has made catching fly-tippers a priority. In 2015/16 it dealt with 125 major fly-tipping cases. These included six incidents of dumped asbestos and eleven large-scale tyre dumps. However, the EA is the first to admit that it’s still playing catch-up with the waste criminals.

With waste disposal costs increasing it might be tempting to accept a “deal” from someone to get rid of your waste, but they will almost certainly be disposing of your waste material illegally. This could result in you facing criminal charges.

Companies are advised not to make their premises an easy target. All businesses should make sure that all gates are locked at night, waste containers are secured, CCTV cameras, etc. are visible.

Your Comments

April Employment Law Changes – Reminder

This April many employment law changes are coming into force. Here is a summary of what employers need to know:

  • 1 April
    * All rates of the national minimum wage increased.
    * The offence of wrongly advertising work as an apprenticeship takes effect. Training providers in England will be banned from using the word ‘apprenticeship’ except to describe a statutory apprenticeship. The offence also covers describing a person who undertakes such a course or training as an apprentice. The maximum penalty is a fine.
  • 2 April
    Statutory payments for various types of parental leave increased. The prescribed weekly rate of Statutory Maternity, Adoption, Paternity, Shared Parental leave Pay, and Maternity Allowance rises to £140.98 a week.
  • 6 April
    * The Equality Act 2010 (Gender Pay Gap Information) Regulations 2017 came into force and will apply to private and voluntary organisations with 250 or more employees (which is widely defined). Affected employers will be required to publish a gender pay report every year. Organisations can choose when they publish but the first report must be published by 4 April 2018.
    * The Apprenticeship Levy came into force. UK employers with an annual pay bill of or over £3 million will be required to pay an apprenticeship levy at a rate equivalent to 0.5% of their payroll costs. The levy must be paid through PAYE, alongside income tax and NICs. The levy is payable by all relevant employers regardless of whether or not they employ apprentices. Employers will receive an allowance of £15,000 to offset against their levy payment. Employers in England that pay the levy will be able to access funding through a digital service which is expected to open from 1 May 2017.
    * Beneficial tax treatment under salary sacrifice schemes will be removed for certain benefits. Pension contributions, pension advice, childcare, Cycle to Work and ultralow emission cars will be exempt and will continue as before. Salary exchanged for intangible benefits, such as flexible working or the buying of additional holiday will also be unaffected. + Limits on compensation for unfair dismissal and statutory redundancy payments will rise.
    * Statutory sick pay will rise to £89.35 a week.
    * Various changes to immigration rules will take effect, including the introduction of the new immigration skills charge of £1,000 per year for each migrant worker sponsored under Tier 2 of the points based immigration system.

Your Comments