The six-month MOT extension could be cancelled as soon as Monday as car dealerships and garages return to work on June 1.
Independent Garage Association director Stuart James believes changes are coming very soon and says he is ‘hoping and praying’ the government does ‘the sensible thing’ and calls a halt to the automatic exemption this week.
James told Car Dealer Magazine: ‘The exemption should be cancelled with immediate effect – or from Monday at the latest.
‘Every day they delay the number of unroadworthy vehicles driving around on our roads increases. They should repeal it now – it is the right thing to do.’
The calls come as the Driver & Vehicle Standards Agency issued an update today that stated if any drivers have an MOT carried out during this period and their car fails they will lose the right to an automatic six-month exemption.
Car Dealer Magazine contacted the Driver & Vehicle Standards Agency and asked when the six month MOT extension will be cancelled, but all a spokesman would tell us is the exemption ‘remains under review’.
‘An update will be provided in due course,’ said a spokesperson, and they would not be drawn on a timescale of when it could be cancelled.
Some in the trade believe the legislation, that was put in place for a year, could actually be left in place in case the country faces a second coronavirus wave and another lockdown is needed. It would also smooth out the peaks and troughs of MOT demand that a cancellation now could cause later this year.
James said: ‘That would mean that road safety simply isn’t important because doing that would categorically lead to more road deaths from unroadworthy vehicles.’
Currently the MOT extension is running from March 30, 2020, to March 29, 2021 – with any cars due an MOT in that time period given an automatic six-month extension.
Anyone with an MOT due during the current 12-month timeframe automatically gets an extension of six months but it is only issued seven days before the MOT is due.
A government source told Car Dealer Magazine that the legislation was designed this way so that it could run for longer than it was needed without the need for more legislation to be passed.
Baroness Vere, parliamentary under secretary of state at the Department for Transport, told the House of Lords that that the MOT exemption is ‘under constant review’.
She said: ‘The duration of the changes remains under review and, if no longer required, this instrument will be amended to bring forward the last day on which a six-month exclusion can begin.’
An update to the legislation was made today (May 27) by the DVSA which makes it clear that if a driver has an MOT carried out during this period and the car fails they will lose the right to a six month extension.
The government has said all along that cars should remain roadworthy, even if they are given an extension.
The DVSA update said: ‘Your MOT extension will no longer apply if you take your vehicle for its MOT and it fails. Your vehicle will need to be fixed and pass its MOT before you can use it again.
‘For example, Your vehicle’s MOT was originally due to expire on May 3, but has been extended to November 3.
‘You take your vehicle for its MOT in August and it fails. You must stop using the vehicle until it’s fixed and passes another MOT test.’
The update was unexpected with much of the motor trade unaware that it was due to be implemented.
The IGA’s James explained that if the MOT extension was cancelled now – after a two-month period – some 3.5m cars would need to have their MOT carried out in September and October.
‘Those would need to be carried out on top of the normally busy plate change months and would cause a huge spike in work for garages that they may not be able to cope with,’ he said.
‘It would also mean in the future there would always be a very busy time during these months and a quiet time in April and May.’
James suggests the way to solve this could be to cancel the MOT extension from the end of May, and then offer those car owners who need MOTs in September and October the same six-month extension – thus pushing them forward those to fill the period that has been left empty in April and May.
Research by Motorway.co.uk, via an FOI to the DVSA, has found that just 750,000 MOTs were carried out in April – down a staggering 80 per cent.
James added: ‘We have not heard of any official statements on how the government intends to smooth out this spike in demand for MOTs, but this could work.
‘What we do know is the longer they leave it the more complicated it will get. The government has done their best in very difficult circumstances, but now is the time to cancel this legislation for the good of road safety and for the good of the economy.
‘We must bring back the MOT now.’
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