Belfast Telegraph

5,000 Northern Ireland drivers miss MoTs in two months

More than 5,000 people failed to turn up for MoT tests in Northern Ireland in the last two months
More than 5,000 people failed to turn up for MoT tests in Northern Ireland in the last two months
Claire McNeilly

By Claire McNeilly

More than 5,000 people failed to turn up for MoT tests in Northern Ireland in the last two months.

It comes as drivers face waits of up to a month for tests because of an ongoing backlog.

The longest waiting time, which had been 52 days in July, has now fallen to 29 days.

The Department for Infrastructure (DfI) said 2,549 appointments were missed in August, while 2,708 were missed in September.

That is a total of 5,257 drivers who did not show for MoT examinations.

The cost of an MoT test is £30.50. A retest costs £18.50.

It means that motorists spent almost £158,000 on tests they didn't attend.

The no-shows increased from 2,517 in July.

Former Environment Minister Mark H Durkan said the number of people not turning up for MoTs was "absolutely crazy". He called for a thorough analysis of the "deeply worrying" figures.

"It's fair to say that the number of people who aren't bringing their vehicles for appointments is shocking," he said.

"It does have an impact on waiting times for MoT tests.

"I would love to see a deeper analysis of the figures because we need to know why these people aren't turning up. Over 5,000 people in two months is astonishing. We need a closer look at the figures to see if they really reflect the situation.

"The figures are so high I doubt they could be people just not turning up because cars need MoTs - unless they're suggesting there are a lot of cars driving around without their MoTs."

The longest waiting time for an MoT test is at Omagh test centre (29 days), followed by Enniskillen (26), Armagh, Belfast and Cookstown (21).

Motorists getting their MoTs done at the Ballymena test centre had the shortest waiting time (14 days).

The new figures show that 74 MoT tests were cancelled in August, and 128 were cancelled last month.

The Driver and Vehicle Agency (DVA) is responsible for licensing and testing vehicles and drivers in Northern Ireland. It comes under the remit of DfI.

A DfI spokesman said the department is doing everything possible to reduce the backlog. "DVA is currently testing over 20,000 vehicles per week," he said.

"In recent months, the appointment of additional staff, together with Sunday and bank holiday openings, have helped manage the increase in applications for tests and reduce waiting times.

"We will continue to keep these arrangements under review and would continue to encourage customers to book their MoT online as soon as they receive the reminder notice."

In June it emerged that drivers were facing waits of up to 47 days after an increase of around 15,000 applications for tests in the first three months of 2019.

The trend continued all summer, with many drivers at risk of breaking the law by driving without a valid vehicle certificate due to being unable to secure an appointment.

Sunday appointments were added to the schedule over the summer, alongside an increase in the recruitment of staff at centres.

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