This week the UK Government announced that from 30 March 2020, to prevent the spread of Corona virus, MOT due dates for cars, motorcycles and light vans will be extended by 6 months. Whilst it is understandable why the Government has reached this decision, its announcement has left the general public, MOT testing station businesses, and those like us that support that industry, with a few questions. We have been working hard to find answers to help make life easier for people in these uncertain times and here is what we know so far:
For the general public:
The six month extension applies to cars, motorcycles and light vans that are due an MOT test on or after 30th March 2020.
- What do I need to do to get the extension? Nothing, as long as your vehicle is due it's MOT test on or after 30th March 2020 the extension will apply automatically. The 'Check My MOT' facility on the .Gov website (https://www.gov.uk/check-mot-history) will automatically be updated with the new MOT due date when it has been applied. The DVSA are only updating dates in batches, approximately one week before the current due date.
- What if my vehicle is due an MOT test before 30th March? You must still get it tested by it's due date.
- What if my vehicle is due it's MOT before 30th March but I am self-isolating or have symptoms of the virus and cannot get my vehicle tested by it's due date? Once you have recovered, or have completed your period of isolation and wish to use your vehicle, the first place you must drive it to is an MOT testing station to have its test carried out. You must not drive anywhere else until it has been tested. Even if your period of isolation lasts beyond 30th March, your vehicle is still due it's MOT and must be tested immediately. If you do miss the MOT due date whilst you are isolating and cannot get it taxed or insured you should register the vehicle as SORN until it can be tested, taxed, and insured.
- If my vehicle is due an MOT test on or after 30th March and I take up the offer of the extension, where will I stand as far as insurance is concerned? The Department for Transport has stated that insurance claims will not be affected because this scheme is effectively extending MOT certificates meaning they will remain valid for insurance purposes.
- Also, where will I stand if I am stopped by the Police and my vehicle is found to be unsafe? The Department for Transport has said it is working with insurers and the police to ensure people are not unfairly penalised for things out of their control. However you do still have a responsibility to ensure your vehicle is in a safe condition before you set off on a journey and any faults should be rectified. Having your vehicle's MOT test carried out is the only way you can be certain it is safe to be on the road.
- What if I would rather ensure my vehicle is safe so would prefer to have it tested by it's due date, rather than having it's certificate extended? You can still do this. Garages are currently allowed to stay open as they are essential to help Key Workers get about and do their jobs, and to allow the general public to make essential journeys for food shopping, collecting medical supplies, and supporting vulnerable people. However, we know from speaking to our customer base that many garages and MOT testing stations have chosen to close during the current lock-down period, either due to wanting to protect staff or because of a shortfall in business, so we recommend you phone ahead rather than just driving around looking for a centre that is open.
For the Trade:
- My MOT testing equipment is due calibration but the company I normally use to provide this service has closed for the lock-down period. What should I do? We are members of the Garage Equipment Association (GEA) and as such have been involved in discussions about this and have put the question to the DVSA, who have today provided some information. As a result of this the GEA has published the following guidance on their website:
- MOT stations and garages are listed as essential businesses and are allowed to remain open under government guidelines. Support to equipment within garages is not currently listed as essential. The GEA recommendation is, where possible, for equipment companies to only offer remote support to its customers, and not send engineers to site. Each company should conduct their own risk assessment and review its own operating polices inline with government guidelines.
- MOT stations can issue MOT certificates for vehicles presented during this time. Should a piece of MOT test equipment run out of calibration but still be operational and safe to use, the MOT station may continue to use it. If the equipment locks out / shuts down or fails due to a fault then they should stop performing MOTs.
- If garage equipment is due its routine maintenance / calibration verification/ LOLER inspection what should we do? It is not recommended that garage equipment engineers perform routine maintenance / inspections whilst the country is in lock down. The garage will need to conduct and record its own risk assessment as to if it is safe to continue to use the equipment, until an engineer can carry out the required work.
- Specifically, what do I do if my emissions testing equipment runs out of calibration and it's auto-lock-out comes into effect and I cannot use it? According to the GEA statement above, you should stop performing tests. We preempted this by contacting all of our customers prior to closing our office this week and have ensured all calibrations that were due in March were carried out. We will monitor the situation through April to ensure customers are supported as best as we can whilst complying with the Government's instructions, and can ensure the safety of our engineers and clients. Even if you are not a customer of ours and would like any guidance please do not hesitate to give us a call or drop an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
DISCLAIMER - This information has been provided in good faith in order to give people some support during these difficult and uncertain times. All information was as we have interpreted it and is deemed to be correct at 27th March 2020. Information regarding the COVID-19 pandemic and its affect on society is changing daily. To ensure you are doing the right thing in regard to your vehicle and your movements you should regularly check the Government's website and if in doubt contact your preferred MOT testing centre, your insurer, and the DVSA.