MOT test extension will not be ended early as government hints at introducing new system

1st June 2020 | John – 31st May 2020

MOT test suspensions are being reviewed by the government and industry stakeholders but the current extension will not be lifted until it is safe. In a letter to the Independent Garage Association (IGA), the Transport Secretary revealed the DVSA continued to work with testers to develop guidance for a safe return.

However, he said members of the public and testers needed to feel safe when conducting an MOT exam with social distancing measures likely to be introduced.

The letter said: “As you will be aware, my officials are engaged in regular discussions with industry stakeholders, yourself included, to discuss the resumption of testing.

“We need to ensure that an MOT can be conducted safely with the lowest possible risk to people’s health, this includes both MOT staff and those going in for tests.

“The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency has published guidance on conducting tests while adhering to social distancing measures, and they continue to work with testers to develop best practice guidance for these circumstances.

“The public need to feel safe going in for an MOT test, and those doing the testing need to feel safe.”

As part of lifting the current MOT extensions, Mr Shapps has hinted the government could introduce a policy making provisions for those who may be unable to attend a garage.

MOT tests are a legal requirement in the UK and under usual circumstances failing to have a policy can have dramatic consequences.

It is illegal to drive a car without an MOT certificate in the UK with those evading the rules set to be stopped and fined by police officers.

Motorists could lose their car insurance cover and make them unable to apply for car tax on a vehicle.

Mr Shapps’ letter added: “We also need to ensure that we have a robust system in place for those who are in self-isolation, or at risk, so they are not penalised if they are unable to leave their homes.

“When testing is reintroduced, it needs to be done when there is sufficient capacity, not only immediately, but also when those vehicles that have been excluded become due for testing.”

The six month MOT suspension came into effect on 30 March with any cars due a test after this date receiving an automatic extension to their certificate.

Mr Shapps has been clear from the beginning that motorists needed to keep their car in a road legal condition at all times during lockdown.

Police officers are still able to issue charges for motorists who are driving a vehicle in a dangerous condition which comes with fines of up to £2,500.

However, the IGA has been critical of the extension and has openly called for the government to end a scheme which was putting motorists “at risk”.

Stuart James, Chief Executive of the IGA claims “millions of faults” will be left “unrectified” if the full extension went ahead.

This was because the lockdown would see an increase of dangerous and unroadworthy cars on the road.

They have estimated around 580,000 cars will be running with illegal tyres with an extra 290,000 suffering similar issues by the end of the extension in September.

Mr James said: “Now that the public are being encouraged to go back to work and avoid using public transport where possible, the time is right to stop the MOT extension.

“With approximately one third of cars failing their initial MOT, millions of faults will be left unrectified if the full six-month extension goes ahead.

“Small defects that would have been found in the MOT test will worsen, not only leading to an increase in the number of dangerous cars on the road, but an increase in future repair costs for vehicle owners too.”

« How Sir Stirling Moss changed F1 60 years ago todayGovt still mulling cancelling 6-month MOT extension as research reveals most drivers will MOT anyway »