MOT extension about to be terminated?

Published:  22 June, 2020

Is the six-month MOT extension about to be terminated? The decision by the DVSA to end a parallel arrangement for HGVs early next month has raised expectations for an imminent announcement, and statistics have shown over two million drivers have till sought MOTs despite the testing holiday.

Similar to the extension for cars, HGVs were given a three-month extension as a result of lockdown. This is to be lifted from Saturday 4 July.

Commenting on the restart of HGV MOTs in a statement, the DVSA said: “From 4 July, we are restarting testing for heavy vehicles. We have issued a 3-month exemption for vehicles due to be tested in June and will issue further exemptions for July tests. This will help us manage demand as we resume testing. In August, vehicles which have already received an exemption will need a test. All other vehicles due for a test in August will receive a 3-month exemption. When those exemptions expire, vehicles will need to be brought in for test.

“We are working with ATFs to resume testing from 4 July and will be increasing the availability of testers over the coming months, in line with social distancing and the latest Government guidance.”

The DVSA announced the change on Friday (1(June), and it led to speculation that testing on cars is also set to return.

With lockdown easing and traffic levels rising, industry bodies, including the IGA, IAAF and GEA increasingly called on government to lift the car MOT extension due to concerns over the impact on road safety, and the likelihood of a major backlog if the extension runs all the way through to the autumn.

Around five million fewer MOT tests have taken place this year so far, compared with 2019, as a result of the extension.

Via a Freedom of Information (FOI) request made to the DVSA by comparison website Motorway.co.uk it has been shown that that just 2,153,768 MOT tests were carried out over the period of the extension. However, in 2019 there were 7,166,056 tests performed. While the extension has rumbled on, conscientious drivers have continued to head to their local test centre. Aftermarket previously reported that between 30 March and 24 April, around 636,000 MOT tests were carried out. While this represented a 78% drop on 2019, the FOI request showed that the total number of tests for April landed at 746,157. In May, 1,407,611 tests were performed, 89% up on the previous month.

Birmingham saw the highest number of MOT tests in May, with almost 40,000 performed. Sheffield and Nottingham were the next.

Commenting on the figures, Motoway.co.uk Director Alex Buttle said: “More than two million motorists have now chosen not to postpone their MOT tests since the government announced the extension at the end of March. Twice as many took their cars in last month compared to April.

“However, MOTs were still significantly down on last year, and that could mean there are a lot of potentially unsafe vehicles on UK roads. It does appear as though motorists are putting safety before saving as the number of MOT tests in May shot up compared to the previous month."

Alex added: "With lockdown restrictions eased further, and people venturing further from home for days out, general maintenance and safety issues are likely to have been at the forefront of many drivers’ minds.”

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