Motor Industry Calls for MOT Exemption to End Over Fears of Unsafe Cars on the Road
Leading motor associations are urging the Government to ditch the six-month MOT exemption announced on 30 March, as the fear of dangerous cars on the road rises.
Concerns have grown after the Prime Minister asked those unable to work from home to return to the workplace while avoiding public transport.
Although cycling and walking are preferred, many commuters will have no option but to return to work by driving their potentially unsafe cars.
Restrictions have also been lifted in England for those that want to travel to beaches or parks to exercise, leading to a sharp rise in traffic volume.
But data from the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency shows the number of MOT tests completed on cars and small vans fell by an enormous 601,528 (78%) between the weeks of March 16 and April 13, to just 138,035 tests.
And the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), Independent Garage Association (IGA) and Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI) have been quick to highlight the risk of allowing unsuitable vehicles back on the roads.
SMMT boss Mike Hawes said: “Given many of these vehicles have been idle for weeks, a reconsideration of the six-month MOT extension needs to be made as soon as possible.”
Leisure drives appear to be on the rise, with 15 million trips estimated to have taken place last weekend.
Although guidance in England now allows long-distance journeys, 23% of drivers said they were only planning to drive up to 10 miles to get to their destinations.
The Department for Transport (DfT) launched the exemption initiative while making it clear that all vehicles must be kept in a roadworthy condition.
Motorists caught behind the wheel of an unsafe car can still face prosecution including a maximum fine of £2,500.
As lockdown rules slowly start to lift, new coronavirus guidelines for garages, test centres and other aftermarket businesses have been published.
Garages have remained open since the exemption was introduced to provide a service to front line workers.
Mr Hawes said: “It is timely that the aftermarket can assure customers and colleagues that it is ready to re-open safely to ensure workers’ vehicles remain roadworthy. This is essential, not just for the sector, but for the restart of the wider UK economy.”
RAC spokesperson Rod Dennis assured motorists taking to the road: “For drivers who do suffer vehicle issues, we’re ready to assist with our trusted ‘peace of mind’ breakdown cover.”