Drivers will be granted a six-month exemption from MOT testing, allowing people to carry on with essential travel, the Department for Transport (DfT) has announced.
Cars, motorcycles and vans will be granted a MOT exemption that will enable essential travel to work where it cannot be done from home, or shop for necessities.
All cars, motorcycles and vans that require a MOT test will be exempt from needing a test from March 30. The Department for Transport (DfT) urges that vehicles must be kept in a roadworthy condition as drivers could face prosecution if they are driving unsafe vehicles. Advice on keeping a vehicle in a good condition can be found here.
The DfT advises that people should stay at home and avoid travel. The only reasons people should leave their homes is set out in the government guidance.
Transport secretary, Grant Shapps, said: “We must ensure those on the frontline of helping the nation combat COVID19 are able to do so.
“Allowing this temporary exemption from vehicle testing will enable vital services such as deliveries to continue, frontline workers to get to work, and people get essential food and medicine.
“Safety is key, which is why garages will remain open for essential repair work.”
Legislation will be introduced on March 30 and will come into immediate effect for 12 months. Drivers will still need to get their vehicle tested until the new regulations come into place, if they need to use it. Garages will remain open for essential repair work.
If vehicle owners cannot get an MOT as they are in self-isolation, the DfT says it is working with insurers and the police to ensure people aren’t unfairly penalised for things out of their control.
“The temporary MoT exemption is positive as it will allow vital services to continue and aftersales workshops to prioritise essential repair works on critical vehicles”, said Sue Robinson, director of the National Franchised Dealers Association (NFDA), which represents franchised car and commercial vehicle retailers in the UK.
“We welcome the transport secretary’s comments that ‘safety is key’ and aftersales departments will remain open for essential repair work."
Karen Hilton, chief commercial officer at HeyCar, believes granting the six-month exemption from MOT testing is the right thing to do. She said: “We’re really pleased with the news that MOTs have been scrapped for at least six months. We’ve had queries from concerned customers about what they should do, as taking their car for an MOT seems to conflict with the Government advice to stay at home. People have enough worries in this time of crisis without having to consider how they get their car in for MOT.
“Scrapping the MOT for all vehicles while the country goes through the coronavirus lockdown is the only sensible approach, removing risk for motorists and mechanics alike.
“This isn’t business as usual, we are all being told to stay indoors unless absolutely necessary and while the MOT is vital for all vehicles, especially older ones from a safety point of view, it’s just another one of those appointments that will now have to wait in order to protect the health of the community.
“Many mechanics are small businesses who will be hit hard by the loss of income. There is sure to be a wave of motorists who need an MOT once the exemption is lifted.”
Practical driving tests and annual testing for lorries, buses and coaches have been suspended for up to three months.