The lockdown measures impacted just about every area of daily life. Even something as mundane as going to the shops became a strange and often bewildering experience – and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
One change that you might not have noticed is the suspension of MOT testing in the UK. Keeping non-essential businesses open was deemed an unjustifiable risk. And, given that most of the country had been forbidden from driving anywhere, making sure that vehicles are roadworthy no longer seemed like an essential activity. The government therefore announced a six-month exemption for MOT tests.
Now that lockdown has lifted, all of that’s changed. And so the government announced in late June that MOT tests would be reintroduced in England, Wales and Scotland. Let’s look through the changes and see how they might affect you.
What about the exemption?
The exemption is still in place for dates between 30th March and the 31st of July, meaning that your due date is effectively six months from the date on the certificate. For example, if it was due on the 31st of July, then you’ve got until the 31st of January. This effectively means that some motorists have been granted longer than others. It’s not entirely fair, but it’s an imperfect response to a very strange situation.
What about Northern Ireland
These rules are slightly different in different parts of the UK. In Northern Ireland, MOTs have been given an extra twelve months rather than just six. This makes it easy to deduce exactly when the test is due. A phased reintroduction of testing is already underway in the country.
What if I don’t get tested?
There’s a good reason that MOT tests are mandatory – and from a road safety perspective, nothing has really changed. With roads in Britain recovering to their prior levels of activity, a lack of stringent safety checks on vehicles could end up posing a significant risk. As such, it’s vital that testing is resumed. To enforce this, all of the fines associated with failure to get tested will be coming back into force.
Motorists whose MOTs are due who fail to get tested could face a fine of up to £1,000. Jardine Motors Group took to Twitter to pass comment on the announcement, urging customers to book ahead, as they can refresh their MOT up a month before it’s due to expire.
According to the government, 90% of garages have reopened and testing has recovered to around 70% of its prior levels. This shortfall may in part be due to a lack of awareness of the coming changes – and thus motorists should advise one another of the changes and their urgency.