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Government announces MOT test exemption in fight against coronavirus

As the UK enters a period of lockdown to fight the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19), many motorists have been questioning whether MOT testing centres are still open, with cars being needed for essential travel. Today (25 th March), the government has announced that drivers in Britain will be granted a six-month temporary exemption from MOT testing from next Monday (30th March).

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “We must ensure those on the frontline of helping the nation combat COVID-19 are able to do so.” These emergency measures will enable vital services in the battle against coronavirus to continue, frontline workers to get to work, and they also offer support to people who require a car in order to buy essential food and medicine.

How will it work?

The new legislation will be introduced on Monday 30th March, with the government introducing an exemption certificate system to cover vehicles with an expired MOT test, with digital records being amended.

All cars, vans and motorcycles will be exempt, meaning you will be still be able to drive a vehicle with an expired MOT test, providing it is in a roadworthy condition. Shapps emphasised: “Safety is key, which is why garages will remain open for essential repair work.”.

Although car dealerships, such as Johnsons, are temporarily closed due to the lockdown measures, dedicated MOT test and service garages have been deemed an essential service by the government, and are open for essential repairs. Read the rules on vehicle safety here. You can be fined up to £2,500, be banned from driving and get three penalty points for driving a vehicle in a dangerous condition.

What about vehicles with MOT tests due before 30th March?

The government says that drivers will still need to get their vehicle tested at a garage until the new regulations come into play, if they need to use it for essential travel. If you’re unsure when your MOT test is due, you can check here.

More guidance on vehicles with MOT tests due before 30th March can be found here. If you cannot get an MOT test because you’re in self-isolation, don’t panic, as the government is working with insurers and the police to ensure people are not unfairly penalised.

What is deemed as ‘essential travel’?

Under government guidelines, the only reasons people should leave their homes are as follows:

  • Shopping for basic necessities, as infrequently as possible
  • One form of exercise a day (a run, walk, or cycle) – alone or with members of your household
  • Any medical needs, including to provide care or to help a vulnerable person
  • Travelling to and from work, assuming you cannot work from home.

Read the government’s announcement in full here.

For more about our response to coronavius as well as some frequently asked questions and advice, see here.