Mallon announces the planned return of full vehicle testing services

Date published: 16 June 2021

Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon has announced that the Driver and Vehicle Agency (DVA) is planning to resume full vehicle testing services from 26 July.

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In light of the relaxation of Covid-19 restrictions, which has enabled a number of close contact services to resume including driving tests, the DVA has carried out a review of its current vehicle testing processes in order to return to its normal 20 minute test slot for cars and light goods vehicles. Currently, vehicle testing templates are configured for 25 minutes in line with the control measures that were introduced to help stop the spread of Covid-19.

To manage the transition to full service delivery Temporary Exemption Certificates (TECs) for all qualifying vehicles will be extended by one further month.  New TECs or extensions to existing TECs will be applied automatically to enable vehicles to be taxed and kept on the road.

Minister Mallon said:  

“Over recent months the DVA has worked hard to increase its vehicle testing capacity but has been working at a reduced capacity due to the safety measures it introduced to help stop the spread of Covid-19.

“The DVA is taking steps to reinstate its normal vehicle test times from 26 July, which will allow all vehicles to be brought forward for a test. This will be kept under ongoing review depending on the course of the epidemic.

“The DVA is in the process of revising its risk assessments, which will include appropriate mitigation measures, and will engage on them with staff and Trade Union representatives.

“Existing TECs applied to eligible private cars, light goods vehicles and motorcycles aged 4-9 years will be extended by a further month from the date the existing exemption ends. Four year old cars and motorcycles and three year old light goods vehicles due a first time test will have a five month TEC applied from the date their first MOT is due.”

Continuing the Minister said: 

“Road safety remains a significant priority. I would like to remind owners and drivers of all vehicles that they are responsible under the law for the roadworthiness of their vehicle at all times.  The expectation from the Department, the PSNI and the Association of British Insurers is that motorists continue to service their vehicle and carry out basic checks such as looking out for brake wear, ensuring that all lights are working and regularly checking their tyre pressure and tread depth. 

“As before, extensions to TECs will be added to the DVA system, not issued in hard copy.  For all vehicles with TECs applied, the DVA will issue a reminder notice to the registered keeper of the vehicle before the TEC period ends, with instructions on how to book a test.”

Further information on TECs is available on nidirect at: Coronavirus - Covid-19 and Motoring

Notes to editors: 

  1. Private cars, light goods vehicles and motorcycles aged 4-9 years will have a further month added to their TEC. Four year old cars and motorcycles and three year old light goods vehicles due a first time test will have a new five month TEC applied from the date the vehicle’s first MOT is due. 
  2. Registered keepers of vehicles aged 10-39 will be issued with a reminder notice when their vehicle is due for test.
  3. Those vehicles that require a renewed TEC or require one for the first time, will automatically be updated on the DVA system and on the Driver & Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) system in Swansea so that the vehicle can be taxed.
  4. Since 12 October 2020, vehicles 40 years old and over are exempt from MOT. The amended legislation is The Goods Vehicles (Testing) (Amendment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2020 and The Motor Vehicle Testing (Amendment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2020.The exemption applies to vehicles which have not been substantially altered, or are no longer in production. In Northern Ireland vehicles first registered before 1960 are already exempt from periodic testing.
  5. The DVA will continue to test all heavy goods vehicles and trailers, buses, taxis and the registered keepers of these vehicles will receive an automatic reminder before their test is due.
  6. Vehicles not previously registered in Northern Ireland; vehicles whose MOTs have expired by more than 12 months that includes vehicles previously declared SORN and those sold by car dealerships can also book a test but will not receive an automatic reminder as these vehicles are not currently in the DVA system.
  7. DVA will not be issuing hardcopy TECs to customers, it will be automatically recorded on the computer system.
  8. Customers can check the status of their MOT and details of the new expiry date online at:
  9. All media queries should be directed to the Department for Infrastructure Press Office at:
  10. The Executive Information Service operates an out of hours service for media enquiries only between 1800hrs and 0800hrs Monday to Friday and at weekends and public holidays. The duty press officer can be contacted on 028 9037 8110.
  11. Follow the Department on Twitter @deptinfra and on Facebook @DepartmentforInfrastructure

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