Owners of all four-year-old cars in Northern Ireland are to receive certificates saying they are exempt from MOT test for six months

Move taken in response to the ongoing coronavirus crisis

MOT centre

Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon has confirmed that in the coming days, six month temporary exemption certificates will begin to issue for all four year old cars so they can be kept on the road.

Minister Mallon said: “Just yesterday I confirmed MOT test centres would no longer be carrying out tests and that all vehicles eligible would be issued with a temporary exemption certificate (TEC).

"However, this could not be applied to four year old cars and taxis due to legal requirements.   

“I am pleased to confirm that following significant work by my officials, I am now able to put arrangements in place to ensure four year old cars can get back on the road, if given the ongoing health advice, the journey to be made is essential.

“From tomorrow, four year old cars will be given a TEC for six months from the date that their MOT test should have been due. This will allow the vehicle to be taxed and driven on the road. Issuing the certificates will take some time but the exemption will automatically apply from the due date. 

“The PSNI has agreed to our request that given these exceptional circumstances, where PSNI detects a vehicle without a valid MOT certificate, it will in suitable cases, exercise its discretion under the law, in circumstances where there is no identified risk to public safety.  It is important that drivers realise that they are responsible under the law for the roadworthiness of their vehicle at all times.”

The Minister continued that she and officials are continuing to urgently explore options to support taxis at this difficult time.

“For taxis which require PSV tests, new regulation and legislation needs to be put in place to allow the legal issuing of Temporary Exemption Certificates and, despite best efforts, this is taking longer to resolve. However, I want to reassure taxi drivers that we are working urgently on options to help them at this difficult time.

"I recognise the taxi industry is being hard hit by this public health and economic crisis.  I also am working with Executive colleagues and pushing hard for more support from the UK Government for the self-employed.  Protecting drivers and the public from the serious impact of COVID-19 is my priority.”

Alastair Ross, Head of Public Policy for Northern Ireland at the Association of British Insurers, said: “Insurers recognise that this is worrying time for everyone and will take a pragmatic view.

"They will not penalise customers for something that is entirely out of their control and where motorists with an MOT exemption certificate request a quote, they will not be prejudiced by their lack of a valid MOT certificate. This applies regardless of whether they wish to renew with their existing insurance provider or are looking to take out a policy with a different insurer. 

“Insurers do, however, expect that motorists comply with their legal obligation to keep their vehicle in a roadworthy condition if they are driving it. Those affected by the ongoing MOT testing suspension should continue to service their vehicle and carry out basic checks such as looking out for brake wear, ensuring that all lights are working and that windscreen liquid and oil are at the correct levels.”

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