The UK’s MOT testing system could become overloaded later this year once the country comes out of lockdown from the current coronavirus crisis – adding to existing risks of drivers being in unroadworthy vehicles.
Licence Check has expressed concerns that the backlog of tests could put unprecedented pressure on the system and leave drivers scrambling to find MOT slots.
And it’s warning that employers running affected vehicles need to put systems in place to help prevent this.
The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) issued guidance towards the end of last month that a car, van or motorcycle’s MOT expiry date could be extended by six months if it was due on or after 30 March.
The DVSA currently carries out 30 million MOTs a year through 23,000 test centres. But, with all this summer’s MOTs effectively being pushed back into the autumn/winter period, that could bring a hefty backlog. Furthermore, the chances of vehicles being driven in an unroadworthy state – bringing hefty fines and even a possible ban for drivers – could rise dramatically.
All of this uncertainty puts the onus on employers, especially those with large numbers of grey fleet drivers who use their own vehicles on company business, to have in place robust systems to ensure that vital checks, such as MOTs, are being carried out as soon as possible once lockdown is over to ensure continuing compliance.
Terry Hiles, general manager at Licence Check, said: “Centres will be twice as busy as normal during the autumn/winter period as 12 months’ demand will be effectively shoehorned into a six-month time frame.
“Employers will need to have in place robust systems in place to ensure MOTs are carried out on the new dates rather than the regular anniversary date that they may have become accustomed to. So MOT reminders and alerts to drivers will be vitally important.
“MOTs will need to be attended to once lockdown ends and many drivers may need a prompt to help them remember the new expiration date. One option could be to sign with the .gov.uk website for its text message reminder service so that drivers are sent reminders of their new date.”
However, fleets using Licence Check’s DAVIS cloud software solution to manage fleet vehicles would routinely get reminders, as the system automatically sends email alerts to drivers telling them when their MOT is due.
With MOT dates changing due to the six-month extension and moving from the usual anniversary date, the system will automatically update the MOT details and remind drivers when their new MOT date is.
Hiles added: “This feature provides a prompt in advance so that drivers are reminded when their vehicle is due for its MOT. Systems like DAVIS that are in the cloud mean that they keep running in the background, constantly updating records in line with the latest issues and keeping users abreast of the latest developments.”