Six-month temporary MOT exemptions will be granted for vehicles from March 30 as the country attempts to battle the coronavirus pandemic. The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) says it made the decision to “enable vital services to continue, frontline workers to get to work, and people to get essential food and medicine.”

The news follows the government announcement that driving tests would be suspended for up to three months, with no new tests since the weekend. At the same time, the government said it would suspend MOTs for all heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) and public service vehicles. However, it has taken until now for the authorities to clarify the situation for cars and light commercial vehicles such as vans and pick-up trucks.

According to the DVSA, all cars, vans and motorcycles that would ordinarily require an MOT test will be exempted from needing a test for six months from March 30, 2020. Nevertheless, vehicles must be kept in a roadworthy condition and garages will remain open for “essential repair work”.

MOT test

Despite the new rule, it will still be possible for motorists to be prosecuted if they are found driving an unsafe vehicle. And those who need a test before the new legislation comes into force on March 30 will still need to get their vehicle tested. For those who cannot get an MOT that’s due because they are in self-isolation, the Department for Transport (DfT) says it is “working with insurers and the police” to ensure motorists are “not negatively affected” as a result.

The news comes after the government introduced an effective lockdown earlier this week. Prime Minister Boris Johnson urged the public to stay at home unless they are shopping for necessities or exercising, or going to work that “absolutely cannot be done from home”.

Mechanic performing MOT inspection

Grant Shapps, the Transport Secretary and Conservative MP for Welwyn Hatfield, said the measures would help workers needed to combat the virus get to work, as well as helping people get the foodstuffs and medicines they need to get through the lockdown.

“We must ensure those on the frontline of helping the nation combat Covid-19 are able to do so,” he said. “Allowing this temporary exemption from vehicle testing will enable vital services such as deliveries to continue, frontline workers to get to work, and people to get essential food and medicine. Safety is key, which is why garages will remain open for essential repair work.”