The UK government has confirmed that as of August 1st 2020, all MOT testing classed as mandatory will resume.
As of June 29th 2020, it has now been confirmed that unless a vehicle has an MOT due date before August 1st, the six month MOT exemption will not be valid from that date, as the rule has ceased due to COVID-19 restrictions lessening. This means that any drivers of vehicles such as vans, motorcycles or cars must hold a valid MOT pass certificate to continue driving.
The rule originally came into place when the UK lockdown in March, with an objective to help slow the spread of coronavirus through vehicle use. However, there were concerns that this could also cause an unnecessary overload in MOT testing once the rule lapsed, causing a struggle amongst businesses for finding time to physically book a time slot. During the lockdown itself, the government reported that over 90% of garages are already open in the UK, but are only managing to operate at 70% of capacity, confirming that MOT testing is already starting up again with a tough road ahead.
“The MOT extension created valuable breathing space at the start of the coronavirus pandemic and was very much welcome,” said Paul Hollick, AFP co-chair. “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.”
Others however, have welcomed the news of the August 1st cease date. Sue Robinson, director of the NFDA commented that “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.”
Communications director for Kwik Fit, Roger Griggs supports this by referencing that their 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.”
Once again making MOT testing mandatory as early as summer is a wise decision. For UK businesses who operate fleets of all sizes, ensuring their vehicles are completely safe is an absolute priority. It is vital for all drivers, and businesses who represent those drivers, to abide by road safety laws at all costs.
As urged by AFP, the advise to fleet managers is to begin booking MOT slots per vehicle as soon as possible, to avoid as much disruption to business as possible. Although the six-month exemption is still valid for vehicle with an MOT due date before August 1st, people are able to voluntarily get their MOT sooner should they wish, even if they are exempt from the legal requirement. 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.
Whilst the MOT exemption rule may have been valid since March, motorists can and always have been able to be prosecuted for driving an unsafe vehicle.