WITH the MOT backlog continuing, Fermanagh motorists are being urged to keep checking for cancellations, with the DVA confirming it will not be giving tax exemptions to those with expired certificates.
Despite capacity being increased at all centres, local drivers are still facing delays of around four months on average when they attempt to book a test at the Enniskillen MOT centre. Even those who have opted for centres further from home have reported facing delays of several weeks and even months.
The DVA previously confirmed to the Herald that it had consulted with the PSNI and had been assured motorists whose vehicles were roadworthy, and who could show their MOT was booked in, would not be penalised.
However, given an MOT is needed to pay tax on a vehicle, many local motorists fear they will fall foul of the law by driving before their appointment.
The local Council recently wrote to the DVA asking about possible concessions for those unable to tax their vehicle due to their MOT being expired.
In her correspondence with the Council, interim head of vehicle policy at the DVA, Sarah Steadman, said the advice to customers who required an MOT to tax their vehicle was to book the earliest available appointment they could get and to keep checking the booking system before their MOT expires.
Those whose MOT is due to expire within five days are advised to email email@example.com and explain their situation.
“The DVA will do their best to secure an urgent appointment for their vehicle,” said Ms Steadman. “To date, all customers who have contacted the DVA in these circumstances have been offered an earlier appointment slot.”
With regard giving tax exemptions to those who were unable to tax their vehicles due to their MOT being expired, Ms Steadman said this was not being considered.
“Given the measures that the DVA has introduced, there are no plans to introduce any concessions or exemptions in Northern Ireland to the legal requirements,” she said.
“Anyone that uses a vehicle on a public road without vehicle tax, a valid MOT and motor insurance is committing an offence.”
With regard insurance, the Association of British Insurers (ABI) stated not having a valid MOT would not necessarily invalidate a policy.
In its correspondence with the Council, Director of general insurance policy, James Dalton, said the ABI was aware of concerns regarding the difficulty to obtain an MOT appointment.
“Insurers recognise that this is a worrying time for everyone and will take a pragmatic view on the situation, aiming to avoid penalising customers for something that is entirely out of their control,” said Mr Dalton.
“Where motorists in Northern Ireland have a confirmed MOT appointment booking for their test, they should not be prejudiced by a lack of valid MOT certificate if it has run out before the test takes place.”
Mr Dalton added that insurers did expect motorists to comply with their legal obligation to keep their vehicle in a roadworthy condition, and to carry out basic checks such as checking their brakes, headlights, tyre pressure and tread depth.
“If motorists are in any doubt, they should check their policy documents or contact their insurer,” he concluded.
To read more.. Subscribe to current edition