22 May 2024
The voice of the independent garage sector

One-year MOT exemptions to ease Northern Ireland delays

One-year temporary exemption certificates are to come into effect for some private cars in Northern Ireland next month in a bid to reduce MOT waiting times.

Infrastructure minister John O’Dowd (pictured) said the TECs will apply to private cars first registered between June 1, 2019 and May 31, 2020 — or between June 1, 2017 and May 31, 2018 — which have a valid MOT certificate issued by Northern Ireland’s Driver and Vehicle Agency (DVA).

The TECs will be automatically processed by the DVA from June 1. The Department for Infrastructure said this will allow motorists to continue to legally drive their vehicles as long as the cars are roadworthy, taxed and insured.

O’Dowd said on April 30 that licensing information shows around 115,000 cars may be eligible for a TEC.

The minister is also considering launching a public consultation on biennial MOT testing — testing every two years for private cars, light goods vehicles under 3,500kg and motorcycles.

O’Dowd said: “DVA staff have been working around the clock to tackle an increasingly high demand for MOT tests due to a growing population, a higher proportion of households with access to a vehicle and more older cars on the road.”

In each of the last two years, the DVA conducted more than 1.1 million vehicle tests, the highest number ever recorded, O’Dowd said. “Indeed, there were just seven days in 2023 when the DVA did not offer MOT appointments.”

Meanwhile, O’Dowd said a recruitment drive is underway to help fill vacancies across DVA’s network of test centres. Efforts have also been made to reduce the number of ‘no shows’ — with around 50,000 motorists failing to attend booked appointments in each of the last two years.

The minister said TECs will give the DVA time to relieve exceptional pressure on the system by completing the recruitment process and developing new test centres.