With the progression of Covid-19 and its traumatic effect upon the world, the government is implementing new policies and procedures on a daily basis. It may have been noted that one such policy relates to MOTs on vehicles. Some people may be unwell or unfit and therefore unable to get themselves to a garage for an MOT. Other people may find that whilst they are perfectly well, their local garage has closed and this impacts their ability to have their vehicle tested.
What are the laws on MOT’s during the Coronavirus outbreak?
In order to ease the difficulties, the government has implemented a new system which effectively divides motorists into two groups; those due to have an MOT before 30 March 2020 and those due to have theirs afterwards.
Do I still need to MOT my vehicle during the Coronavirus pandemic?
If you are in the former category, then yes you are still required to have your vehicle tested in the usual way. If you are unwell then of course you must follow government guidance on isolation but once you are able to do so, your vehicle should be tested. Should it be the case that in the intervening period, the vehicle tax lapses, the vehicle should be declared SORN. This means you must make a Statutory Off Road Notification which can be done online here. Any vehicle which is SORN should not be driven on a road unless it is directly to an MOT test centre for a pre-booked MOT test.
If however, your MOT was not due until on or after 30 March 2020, the government will automatically extend the due date by 6 months. By way of example, should your MOT have been due on 3 April 2020, there will be an automatic extension to 3 October 2020. You can check here when your MOT is due.
Why does the government relaxation apply to MOT’s after 30th March 2020?
It could be questioned why the government has drawn a somewhat arbitrary line as of 30 March 2020. Our motoring expert Nick Terry is of the view that the government is seeking to react to the Coronavirus situation but equally does not want to increase the risk of unfit vehicles being put back on the road.
It is important to consider that there may be a number of vehicles that could have already had a lapsed MOT and be in an unworthy condition. Were the government to give an automatic 6 months MOT to every vehicle, there would be nothing to prevent a vehicle owner from seeking to put the vehicle back on the road when they shouldn’t. Notwithstanding this, there remains a requirement for all vehicles to be kept in a roadworthy state. All motorists would be reminded that if your vehicle is driven in a dangerous condition then the driver could be prosecuted for a number of motoring offences, including offences relating to vehicle defects or dangerous driving, which can carry up to 2 years imprisonment, mandatory disqualification periods and an extended driving re-test. If you have an accident and cause injury or death, then the consequences are extremely serious.
In these difficult times, the government and indeed Burton Copeland would advise all people to have safety at the forefront of their minds, especially when getting behind the wheel of a car.