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IGA urges Government to axe COVID-19 lockdown MOT extension

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The Independent Garage Association (IGA) is urging Government to scrap the temporary MOT extension following Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s “back to work” lockdown easing measures.

The IGA has written to Secretary of State for Transport, Grant Shapps, urging him to end the six-month MOT extension put in place on March 30.

Chief executive, Stuart James, said: “Stopping the MOT extension without delay will ensure that many more cars are roadworthy, and another major step will be taken in helping the UK economy recover.”

Many of the UK’s car retailers have now re-opened their aftersales departments to meet rising demand from motorists who were told by the Prime Minister to return to work “if they could” in a public address last week.

He also urged people working within businesses allowed to operate during the current lockdown period to avoid public transport on their commute, if at all possible, and said people in England could now drive “as far as you like” to facilitate exercise – potentially leading to a rise in vehicle ownership and use.

An indication of the immediate rise in road use since the announcement came with a Green Flag report which suggested breakdowns had increased by 72% last Wednesday, May 13, compared to the first Wednesday of lockdown.

James believes that the shift needs to be acknowledged with the urgent re-introduction of the traditional MOT vehicle safety tests. He said: “Now that the public are being encouraged to go back to work and avoid using public transport where possible, the time is right to stop the MOT extension.

“With approximately one third of cars failing their initial MOT, millions of faults will be left unrectified if the full six-month extension goes ahead.

“Small defects that would have been found in the MOT test will worsen, not only leading to an increase in the number of dangerous cars on the road, but an increase in future repair costs for vehicle owners too.”

James said that leaving vehicles unchecked also puts motorists at risk of prosecution for driving an unsafe vehicle when it has been exempted from MOT testing.

He said that 580,000 vehicles will have illegal tyres today, which will rise by another 290,000 by the end of the MOT extension, adding: “These drivers face a fine of up to £2,500 for each tyre and three penalty points.

“This is a simple defect which could have been easily rectified if an inspection was carried out, but could now cost the driver dearly and put themselves and others at risk.”

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