In March, all cars, motorcycles or vans with MOT tests due, were granted a six-month exemption to help slow the spread of Covid-19.
This exemption however, has ended this month, meaning that all cars, motorcycles and vans with an MOT due from August 1st will now be required to have an up-to-date test certificate.
According to results from a YouGov survey, 56% of drivers who were due a vehicle MOT between March 30th and July 31st 2020, took advantage of the six-month exemption scheme to prolong their existing certificate and its expiry date.
Now however, the government is playing its part in urging motorists to begin booking their MOT tests in sooner rather than later, in the interests of road safety and fears that testing centres and garages could become overwhelmed with over capacity bookings.
The Motor Ombudsman study also identified that simply announcing the now “mandatory” state has actually done little in persuading drivers to book their tests in, with only 29% confirming that they have secured a slot since August 1st.
Chief ombudsman and managing director of The Motor Ombudsman, Bill Fennell, said: “The results of our study and wider industry data clearly shows that there is cause for worry, due to the number of potentially unsafe cars on the road that have not had their MOT. This is compounded by the concern that the recent government announcement has created very little impetus to buck this trend.”
As more and more garages have been able to reopen their doors following lockdown restrictions being lifted, Fennell urges drivers and fleet managers to get their vehicles booked in “as soon as possible.”
“This means that they will have a better chance of securing a booking and will also help to alleviate a large build-up of outstanding tests that could leave MOT stations unable to cope at a later date,” he added.
The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) also revealed findings that almost 4.9 million Class 4 MOTs (including passenger cars) were carried out between April 1st and June 30th 2020 – this is down more than 50% in comparison to the 10.3 million test conducted during the same time in 2019.
With this, DVSA head of MOT policy, Chris Price, commented: “MOT exemptions were issued to allow people to continue to use their vehicles for essential travel during the pandemic. We know that MOT centres are likely to be very busy this autumn with double the usual demand. We are encouraging motorists to consider bringing their MOT forward to help beat the rush.”
For fleet managers, this is an urgent must. According to Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles, an estimated 1.2 million vans had their MOTs postponed during the lockdown exemption, with a third of these are likely to fail the roadworthiness test.
This equates to nearly 400,000 vans on the road today that are officially legal but are also highly likely to require critical maintenance for issues such as lighting defects, suspension flaws and brake faults.
The conclusion: start making MOT bookings as soon as possible.