The National Franchised Dealers Association (NFDA) has called on the Driver and Vehicle Agency (DVA) to allow franchised car dealers to carry out MoT tests as part of a reform of testing legislation in Northern Ireland.
NFDA director, Sue Robinson, said that “it is imperative that the NI MoT system is reformed to allow dealers to conduct the testing” following the closure of all MoT test centres and the cancellation of 5,000 MoT tests in country.
The DVA confirmed yesterday (January 28) that an inspection of all vehicle lifts in Northern Ireland’s 15 MoT centres, the Driver and Vehicle Agency (DVA) had revealed signs of cracking in 48 out of 55 vehicle lifts.
As a result, around 5,000 MoT tests have already been cancelled and are unlikely to return to full operation for weeks, or even months, as operators look to fund the £30,000 to £40,000 replacement of each ramp.
Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon has said drivers affected by MoT test cancellations would be automatically issued with temporary exemption certificates, valid for four months.
However, nothing can be done with cars under four-year-old that are still due the first MoT. These will be dealt with first once the test centres reopen.
In Northern Ireland, unlike in the rest of the UK, MoT tests are carried out at 15 government-run centres.
Urging reform of that model, Robinson said: “MoT has repeatedly been an issue for both motorists and dealers in Northern Ireland, primarily due to long waiting times.
“NFDA has been made aware that to address the shortage of MoT appointments available, centres have had to open on Sundays and regularly add extra appointments.
“This may have put an additional strain on certain centres’ facilities, potentially causing some of the current issues.
“Recent problems have made it apparent that it is time to review how MoT tests are carried out in Northern Ireland.
“NFDA calls on the Government to enable franchised dealers in Northern Ireland to conduct MoTs as in the rest of the UK.”