The six-month MOT extension brought in to help keep key workers mobile during the coronavirus lockdown should be ended as soon as possible, says trade body the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).
“With government advice stating that works should avoid public transport when returning to work,” said chief executive Mike Hawes, “the use of private cars is likely to rise.
“Given many of these vehicles have been idle for weeks, a reconsideration of the six-month MOT extension neds to be made as soon as possible.”
The extension saw MOTs that expired during the lockdown automatically extended by six months.
The rule change was introduced on 30 March and is currently in force until March 2021. This means that any MOT expiring until then will be granted an automatic six-month extension.
In the interests of safety and vehicle reliability, the SMMT believes the regular annual MOT check needs to recommence quickly. This would see the current emergency legislation withdrawn again.
Steve Nash, CEO of the Institute of the Motor Industry, echoed the SMMT’s call.
“Whilst the motives for the initiative were sound at that time, there are serious risks in the extension remaining in place now.
“First and foremost, if vehicles are coming back onto the roads in volume, it is vital for all road users’ safety that they are roadworthy.
“The other issue is that if all motorists wait up to 6 months from when their MOT expired to get their vehicle tested, there is going to be a big backlog of tests in the autumn and winter, which could significantly overwhelm the sector.”
Mr Hawes said the sector has now introduced coronavirus safety guidance to minimise the risk of Covid-19 transmission.
“It is timely that the aftermarket can assure customers and colleagues that it is ready to reopen safely to ensure workers’ vehicles remain roadworthy.”
The sector is ready to cope with a “significant ramp-up in demand,” he added.