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Coronavirus: Fleets urged to ‘book an MOT’ as exemption ends

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The Government has announced that mandatory MOT tests for cars, motorcycles and vans in England, Scotland and Wales will be restarted from August 1.

Those vehicles due an MOT due date before August 1 will still receive a six-month exemption.

Due to the coronavirus outbreak, vehicles were granted the six-month exemption from MOT testing in March, to help slow the spread of the virus. 

However, as the lockdown is gradually lifted, all cars, motorcycles or vans due a MOT test from August 1 will now be required to get a test certificate

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.” 

Fleets could face difficulties booking MOTs considering the backlog of tests caused by the pandemic.

Five million fewer MOT tests carried out in April and May 2020 than in the same months last year, according to DVSA figures.

Only some garages remained open to conduct essential services during the coronavirus outbreak, but now more than 90% are open across the country.

Testing capacity has already reached 70% of normal levels and is steadily increasing.

Paul Hollick, co-chair of the Association of Fleet Professionals (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.”

Two-in-five (40%) fleets have postponed non-essential service, maintenance and repair (SMR) work during the coronavirus crisis, according to a Fleet News survey.

More than half (57.7%), however, expect to resume SMR work in the next three months and one-in-six (16.2%) within the next six months.

Roger Griggs, communications director for Kwik Fit, welcomed the Government’s announcement. “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.”

Steve Nash, CEO of The Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI), urged fleets to get their car booked in as soon as possible for a vehicle if it has already passed its MOT date.

“The risks of the exemption were increasing exponentially the longer it went on,” he said.

“The MOT on millions of vehicles has already expired, which means even the most basic checks haven’t been done, with claims that more than a million vehicles due for their MOT since lockdown are likely to have failed.

“MOT Testing Centres are open and ready to help drivers – with all the appropriate social distancing and hygiene measures in place.”

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