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Mandatory MOT testing resumes from start of August

The Government has confirmed that mandatory MOT testing will resume from 1 August 2020, as COVID-19 restrictions begin to ease.

MOTs will restart from 1 August

MOTs will restart from 1 August

Roads minister Baroness Vere has announced today (29 June 2020) that the six-month exemption introduced in light of the COVID-19 pandemic will cease from 1 August, but that MOTs with a due date before 1 August will still receive a six-month extension. All drivers whose car, motorcycle or van is due for an MOT test from 1 August will be required to get a test certificate to continue driving their vehicle.

Drivers were granted a 6-month exemption from MOT testing in March to help slow the spread of the virus, although fleet bodies including FleetCheck warned that it was not a good move for fleets. There were also fears of a MOT overload once MOTs are resumed, due to the potential for drivers to struggle to book a slot. The government said that over 90% of garages are already open across the country, with testing capacity already up to 70% that of pre-lockdown levels.

Paul Hollick, co-chair, AFP, said: “The MOT extension created valuable breathing space at the start of the coronavirus pandemic and was very much welcome. Now, while we clearly need to start returning to business-as-usual, it would have been better to have seen more of a managed transition in order to create a softer landing. This does very much mean that there is considerable potential for the MOT testing system to become heavily congested and even overwhelmed, especially during September when there is likely to be a glut in demand. Our advice to fleet managers is to book ahead with MOT stations as soon as possible. If you can’t get vehicles tested before their MOT lapses, you can’t use them. It’s that simple.”

However, others including Sue Robinson, director of the National Franchised Dealers Association (NFDA), which represents franchised car and commercial vehicle retailers in the UK welcomed the news. “Following the lockdown and the long period when vehicles remained unused and often unserviced, there may now be a lot of potentially unroadworthy and dangerous cars on the road. Ending the MOT extension is a step in the right direction to ensure safety as more people return to work and roads get busier,” she said.

Roads Minister, Baroness Vere, said: “As people return to our roads, it is vital that motorists are able to keep their vehicles safe. That’s why as restrictions are eased, from 1 August MOT testing will again become mandatory.

“Garages across the country are open and I urge drivers who are due for their MOT to book a test as soon they can.”

The government reaffirmed the importance of all vehicles to continue to be properly maintained and kept in a roadworthy condition, and people are able to voluntarily get their MOT sooner should they wish, even if they are exempt from the legal requirement. Motorists can be prosecuted for driving an unsafe vehicle.

Vulnerable or self-isolating drivers are advised to contact local garages, as many are offering pick-up and drop-off services so that cars can be checked without drivers needing to visit a garage.

Roger Griggs, communications director for Kwik Fit, said: “We welcome the Government’s announcement that it is ending the MOT extension policy from 1 August.  Our data has shown that for every week the extension remains in place, more than 150,000 unroadworthy vehicles are being given a free pass, with around a third of those having dangerous defects.  It is vital for road safety that these cars receive a physical check as soon as possible – we urge drivers not to rely on an automatic extension, especially as everyone starts to clock up more miles as the lockdown is eased.”

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Jonathan Musk

Jonathan turned to motoring journalism in 2013 having founded, edited and produced Autovolt - one of the UK's leading electric car publications. He has also written and produced books on both Ferrari and Hispano-Suiza, while working as an international graphic designer for the past 15 years. As the automotive industry moves towards electrification, Jonathan brings a near-unrivalled knowledge of EVs and hybrids to Fleet World Group.