The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) is urging owners and operators of vehicles due an MOT in September, October or November 2020 to bring them forward to beat the expected rush for tests in the autumn.
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.
DVSA is predicting that September, October and November 2020, are likely to be very busy months for MOT centres, because vehicles that were given an extension and those that would normally be due their MOT will both need to be tested.
Chris Price, DVSA head of MOT policy, said: “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.”
DVSA figures state that as a result of the MOT extension period up to five million cars were not tested and as 33% fail on their first test on average, it is estimated that there could be 1.6 million unsafe cars on UK roads.
Paul Loughlin, solicitor and a specialist in motoring law at Stephensons Solicitors LLP, said: “The Government’s decision to reintroduce mandatory testing from 1 August 2020 means that if your MOT is due on or after that date, you must book your vehicle in to be tested as usual.
“Failure to do so can result in a fine up to £1,000 and if your vehicle is found to be dangerous, it can mean fines of up to £2,500, three points on your license or even a possible ban from driving.”
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.
1.2 million vans had their MOTs postponed
An estimated 1.2 million vans had their MOTs postponed during the COVID-19 lockdown exemption, according to Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles, with a third of these are likely to fail the roadworthiness test.
That leaves nearly 400,000 vans on the road that are officially legal but likely to require critical maintenance for issues such as lighting defects, suspension flaws and brake faults, it says.
David Hanna, head of aftersales at Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles, said: “While the MOT exemption was necessary to help van drivers working during lockdown, our investigation has highlighted how many vehicles could now be on the road in unsafe condition.
“We’d urge drivers to get a vehicle condition check at their van centre and also take advantage of the fact you can book an MOT test a month before expiry and still preserve the anniversary of the expiry date. This will ensure the majority of vans are up to standard as soon as possible.”