Mallon outlines MOT test temporary exemptions while repairs are ongoing

Date published: 26 January 2020

Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon has confirmed temporary exemption certificates (TECs) will be issued to customers who have expired MOTs as a result of DVA cancelling test appointments during ongoing repair work.

Minister Mallon said: 

“The health and safety of staff and customers remains my priority and while the DVA has been working to address issues with its vehicle lifts as quickly as possible, it is clear that the inspections and repairs are taking longer than initially expected and causing disruption to customers.  I therefore instructed DVA to begin issuing TECs as soon as practically possible. Progress has been made and from Monday 27 January, customers who have had their MOT cancelled by the DVA due to ongoing repair work will be issued with a TEC.

“These exemptions will extend a vehicle’s MOT by four months and will be backdated to 20 January. However, taxi vehicles and four year old cars will unfortunately not be able to avail of the TEC.  This is because four year old cars do not have an MOT certificate to extend and legislation does not permit the DVA to issue TECs for taxis. Therefore the DVA will instead prioritise appointments for those vehicles and for taxis as an essential service to the public.

“These arrangements will continue until I am satisfied test centres are operating normally again, at which point I will notify the public.  The exemptions will allow motorists to continue to go about their daily lives without further disruption.   Vehicle owners will be sent a reminder notice for the new expiry date well in advance, so a new free test can be booked.

 “I am aware that some customers are attending for tests and are being turned away.  At this time, the DVA is seeking to prioritise tests for those customers whose MOT is about to expire or requiring a retest to get their vehicle back on the road.  However, the DVA is continuing to contact customers to cancel tests where necessary and where contact details are available. I have instructed the DVA to ensure that every effort is made to reach customers including by direct contact and through media forums.

“Recognising the disruption caused to people across the north, I have instructed the DVA to pay the maximum amount of compensation that is permissible and to ensure motorists receive their new test at no cost.”

Minister Mallon continued:  “Tomorrow I will provide a written statement to the Northern Ireland Assembly and will make every effort to communicate clearly to the public any updates on this situation. I understand that this is a matter of concern for the public and I can give my assurance that I will continue to work with the DVA to find a swift and safe solution to get operations fully functioning again. I have also instructed officials to prepare a full review into how this situation arose, the contingency planning in place and communication with the public. My priority is to put in place steps to prevent this ever happening again.

“If you have not been contacted by the DVA to cancel your MOT test, please attend as planned.  It is the responsibility of the vehicle owner to ensure their vehicle is in a roadworthy condition to be used on a public road. Tests are ongoing at all test centres and additional slots at weekends are being made available. 

“Motorists should continue to book an MOT appointment when they receive their reminder letter.  This will ensure they can be issued with a TEC should the DVA need to cancel the appointment. The DVA may call the vehicle for testing earlier than the new expiry date in order to manage demand.

“The DVA sincerely apologises for the impact on its customers. The health and safety of customers and staff remains my top priority, while ensuring every effort is made to minimise disruption.”

Notes to editors: 

  1. All media queries should be directed to the Department for Infrastructure Press Office on 028 9054 0007 or email: press.office@infrastructure-ni.gov.uk. Out of hours, please contact the Duty Press Officer on 028 9037 8110.
  2. For those motorists whose MOT appointment has been cancelled by the DVA and their MOT has expired, a temporary exemption certificate (TEC) for a period of 4 months will apply from Monday 27 January, with an effective date of Monday 20 January.
  3. For those motorists whose MOT appointment has been or is cancelled by the DVA and their MOT is about expire, a temporary exemption certificate (TEC) will issue and be valid for a period of 4 months from the date of their current MOT certificate.
  4. For those motorists with four year old vehicles that have never been tested before, it is not possible to issue a temporary exemption certificate as those vehicles do not have an MOT certificate to extend.  The DVA will prioritise test appointments for these vehicles.
  5. Taxis are not covered by the legislation that provides for an MOT TEC as they are subject to a PSV test.  However, taxis will be prioritised and their appointments will be given priority.
  6. A copy of the TEC will be posted to the address provided at the time the original MOT test was booked.  It will confirm the new expiry date of the MOT certificate. 
  7. The owner will be covered from Monday 20 January if the MOT has expired or from the date of expiry of their current MOT certificate.
  8. These arrangements do not apply if the customer cancels their appointment themselves.
  9. More information can be found at https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/articles/vehicle-test-centres

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