At the start of lockdown, and in the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Government announced that from 30th March any car, van or motorcycle will be eligible for a 6 month MOT extension.
This was introduced to help ease the pressure on garages and motorists to continue to use their vehicles for essential travel, even when their test had expired.
The MOT extension was intended to run until 29th March 2021, which means that anyone who has a vehicle with an MOT date before 29th March 2021, will automatically get an extension of 6 months, issued 7 days before the MOT is due.
The Government has said the extension is under constant review, and it has been under increasing pressure from industry bodies and road safety organisations to end it sooner rather than later. The longer it continues, the more dangerous the roads will become.
It is estimated that 1.1 million cars eligible for the extension would have failed the MOT test with a dangerous or major defect, but instead they will be allowed to continue to drive these vehicles for another 6 months without being checked. Currently only 24% of vehicles due a test since the 30th March 2020 have put their vehicles in to be tested.
So now, with lockdown restrictions being eased in parts of the UK, and more cars getting back on the road each week, potentially we are looking at more than one million of these vehicles being unroadworthy and dangerous.
The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) has called for the 6 month MOT extension to be withdrawn “as soon as possible”, and there are many good reasons for doing so:
1. The Government’s advice in ‘getting back to work’ is to use private cars rather than public transport. So this means, there will be a sharp rise in the number of cars on the roads as more and more people return to work, including a number of cars that are not roadworthy.
2. Many vehicles have been standing idle for weeks. Some car owners with a bit of car know-how may have undertaken some basic maintenance checks on their vehicle before getting behind the wheel again, but many won’t. This will put motorists at a greater risk of breaking down, through no fault of their own. In fact, UK Recovery companies reported a 75% increase in breakdowns on the first day that restrictions were eased!
3. Delaying so many tests could cause a bottleneck later in the year when MOT Test centres will be overwhelmed.
4. MOT Testing is essential for the car industry as well as for the restart of the wider UK economy.
5. Motorists could face much bigger bills once they do get their cars tested due to a deterioration in parts over an 18 month period with no mechanical check.
At Foster & Heanes we care greatly about the health and safety of our customers and we want you all to be safe on the road. If you have taken advantage of the MOT Extension whilst your car was sitting idle, but you are now back on the road regularly, we urge you to re-consider your decision to delay your MOT Test. Get it done now, for your own peace of mind.
All our garages are now open with social distancing measures in place. We offer MOT Tests at Hester’s garage in Fleet, and F&H in Dogmersfield.
If for any reason your car does fail and needs to undergo repair, to help minimise any inconvenience, we have complimentary courtesy cars for local customers, subject to availability. We offer free re-tests within 10 days.