Belfast Telegraph

Police issue MoT warning after backlog grace period ruled out

An increase in the number of test applications has piled pressure on vehicle testing centres
An increase in the number of test applications has piled pressure on vehicle testing centres

By Christopher Leebody

The PSNI has confirmed it has been working with the Department for Infrastructure (DfI) on the large MoT backlog.

According to DfI figures, the number of applications for MoT tests between January and March rose by 4.8%, or around 15,000, on last year.

The increase has piled pressure on testing centres and created a significant backlog, with some motorists waiting up to 47 days for an appointment.

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

The Belfast Telegraph previously reported that the DfI had confirmed that there would be no leniency for those drivers who had been unable to secure a test in time.

It cited additional Sunday appointments that would be running over the summer, alongside an increase in the recruitment of staff at centres.

The Driver & Vehicle Agency (DVA) opened a number of test centres on Sunday, June 16, and Sunday, June 23, and said it had tested over 2,500 vehicles.

Around 1,000 extra vehicle tests are planned for this coming Sunday, June 30.

"Given the steps already being taken by the DVA, the department is not considering the use of exemptions at this time," the DfI said.

The PSNI responded with a statement advising that it had been in discussion with the department over the issue since the beginning of June.

Inspector Rosie Leech said: "The PSNI has been in discussion with the DfI since early June about the implications for drivers who find themselves in this situation".

The force went on to stress the importance of drivers acting upon their MoT reminder letter.

"The authority to apply exemptions rests with the DfI and the PSNI would encourage anyone receiving their MoT reminder letter to act upon it immediately," it said.

"If you didn't get a letter, make sure your vehicle is properly registered with DVA in order to benefit from the automatic prompt to book your test and tax your vehicle.

"It is an offence to fail to properly register your vehicle."

Earlier this week, the DfI urged motorists to make sure they turned up for their test as there were 644 no-shows for appointments between June 10 and June 16, despite knowledge of the growing problems in securing a test time.

SDLP MLA Mark H Durkan, whose request for a period of grace for drivers was turned down by the department, has urged drivers to make sure they attend scheduled appointments to help clear the backlog.

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