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Book early and be willing to travel, urges Department

THE Department of Infrastructure (DfI) has urged Fermanagh motorists to book their MOTs as early as possible, and to be willing to travel to wherever they can get their earliest appointment.
The Department has also told the ‘Herald it has arranged with the PSNI not to penalise those whose test has expired but are booked in for one, though it noted vehicle owners should confirm with their insurance companies they are covered to drive.
Responding to queries regarding the current impact of MOT delays, the Department said following last year’s pausing of the service due to Covid, when exemption certificates were issued, all 15 MOT centres in the North had now reopened, with normal testing resuming on July 26 this year.
A DfI spokesman said the DVA had since “steadily increased its vehicle testing capacity” by implementing a range of measures.
These include recruiting additional vehicle examiners, using overtime to provide cover for leave and sick absence, making additional testing slots available, and offering appointments on Sundays and bank holidays.
“The DVA encourages customers to check the booking system daily as they are able to change existing appointments to a different test centre and time if a slot becomes available,” said the spokesman.
“As the DVA transitions back to its normal testing regime, it is experiencing a high demand for its testing services resulting in longer than normal appointment waiting times and in some cases, customers may not be able to secure a vehicle test appointment before their current MOT expires.
“In such circumstances, customers must book the earliest available appointment, which may mean traveling to an alternative location rather than their preferred test centre.”
With regard to driving without an MOT, the spokesman added, “The DVA has consulted with the PSNI and the Association of British Insurers (ABI) to make them aware of the current position.
“The PSNI has agreed not to penalise the driver of a vehicle whose MOT has expired so long as the vehicle is in a roadworthy and safe condition; the vehicle is properly insured; and the driver can provide proof (by showing an MOT appointment notification, either in electronic or paper form) that a test appointment has been booked for the vehicle.”
The spokesman urged motorists to book their test as soon as possible, even if it’s after their expiry date, and said, “all other offences relating to vehicle roadworthiness and insurance will be dealt with by the PSNI and DVA enforcement officers in the usual manner.”
With a valid MOT cert needed to tax your car, the spokesman added the DVA advice for those unable to tax or insure their car was, again, to book the earliest appointment they can and to keep checking the booking system for an appointment before their MOT expired.
“If they get to within five days of their MOT expiry date, contact dva.customerservices@infrastructure-ni.gov.uk and DVA will do their best to secure an urgent appointment for their vehicle,” they said. “To date, all customers who have used this process and contacted the DVA in these circumstances have been offered an earlier appointment.”
Reminding motorists of their legal requirement to ensure their vehicle was roadworthy, MOT or not, in the interest of road safety, the spokesman added, “In the event police encounter an untaxed vehicle, so long as they can ascertain that a vehicle is roadworthy, has a forthcoming MOT test date and is not SORNED, then police will not take any further action.”
To check when your MOT is due well ahead of time visit www.gov.uk/check-mot-status.

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The Fermanagh Herald is published by North West of Ireland Printing & Publishing Company Limited, trading as North-West News Group.
Registered in Northern Ireland, No. R0000576. 28 Belmore Street, Enniskillen, County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland, BT74 6AA