Cars, motorcycles and vans will all be subject to a temporary six-month MoT exemption in an effort to maintain essential travel during the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak, the Department for Transport (DfT) has announced.
The exemption will come into play from March 30 but the DfT said that motorists still have a duty to keep their vehicles “in a roadworthy condition” as many garages remain open to provide essential repair work.
Drivers can still be prosecuted if driving unsafe vehicles, it said in a statement issued this morning (March 25), and advice on keeping a vehicle in a good condition has been issued via the DfT website.
In making its announcement the DfT once again reiterated that people should stay at home and avoid travel in a bid to control the coronavirus outbreak.
The only reasons people should leave their homes is set out in the government guidance, it said.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “We must ensure those on the frontline of helping the nation combat COVID19 are able to do so.
“Allowing this temporary exemption from vehicle testing will enable vital services such as deliveries to continue, frontline workers to get to work, and people get essential food and medicine.
“Safety is key, which is why garages will remain open for essential repair work.”
Yesterday (March 24) the National Franchised Dealers Association (NFDA) called for a three-month moratorium on MoTs.
At a time when many vehicle owners are going to be ill, in quarantine or social distancing, the NFDA stated that it did not think it is reasonable to require them to venture out to get their vehicles MOT-tested, director, Sue Robinson adding: “Due to the current circumstances, we call on the Government to introduce an immediate three-month moratorium on MOT testing which would reduce social contact.”
Commenting on the DfT's response to the MoT question today, Robinson said: "We welcome the Transport Secretary’s comments that ‘safety is key’ and aftersales departments will remain open for essential repair work."
AM reported this morning that retailers across the UK are wrestling with the idea of what aftersales provision – if any – to maintain during the coronavirus outbreak, with many sales and front of house staff now classified as “furloughed workers” in order to register for the Government’s job retention salary scheme.
While Chorley Group has vowed to deliver a 50% aftersales discount to NHS and care workers during the outbreak, Marshall Motor Group chief executive, Daksh Gupta, announced in an email yesterday (March 24) that its parts and aftersales operations would be closing during the pandemic.
Vertu Motors chief executive Robert Forrester, meanwhile, took to Twitter to reveal that his business would continue to offer a limited aftersales provision.
Forrester said: “Tomorrow we will start planning to operate a limited service and repair operation for key workers, vital services and transport companies and the vulnerable who need mobility. Likely to commence Monday.”
He added: “The sector will keep Britain moving.”