Bridgestone’s managing director Robin Shaw has warned roads will be more dangerous if proposals to change MOT testing laws on new cars go ahead, and has urged the government to have a rethink.

In his position as Bridgestone’s north region managing director – as well as chair of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) Aftermarket Section – he expressed concern at chancellor George Osborne’s plans in the recent Budget to extend the deadline for new cars and motorcycles to be MOT tested after four years instead of three.

The Government claimed that the move would save motorists more than £100m a year.

However Shaw is advising a reassessment as he believes the added 12 months will result in more cars running on illegal tyres below the 1.6mm tread depth limit.

When Highways England checked more than 100,000 tyres in England, Scotland and Wales, 27% were below the 1.6mm limit and 39 per cent between 1.6mm and 2mm.

He said: “We oppose these proposals, as we believe they will lead to an increase in the number of unsafe and illegal vehicles on our roads.

“The government is claiming that by considering this change, motorists will save money because modern day cars don’t need their vehicles tested as often.

“The worry is that within the 12 month extension, motorists will be driving around with defects that are actually more costly to repair – and significantly more dangerous as a result.”

According to the Department for Transport, 981 people were either killed or seriously injured from dangerous tyres over the past five years and Bridgestone believes that a law to lengthen the first MOT test to four years will add to that figure.