MOTORISTS in Tyrone have been warned by the police they will not be given any leeway over expired MOT certificates, despite lengthy backlogs still continuing to affect test centres around the county and elsewhere in the North.
Earlier this summer, it emerged that people booking vehicle tests at the centre were facing “unprecedented” delays of almost two months before they were able to book the first available appointment.
In response to the “very heavy” demand for vehicle tests, the Driver and Vehicle Agency (DVA) announced that it was recruiting extra staff, both on a permanent and temporary basis, as well as opening a number of centres on bank holidays and weekends.
It is estimated that, once the new recruits are “fully operational” next month, they will test up to a combined total of around 1,000 additional vehicles per day.
But, despite these measures, the backlogs are continuing to impact local motorists looking to book their tests.
One car owner, whose MOT is due to expire near the end of September explained that he had received his reminder letter at the start of August. However, when he went online to book his test, he discovered the first available appointment was on October 4 – a week after his certificate is due to expire.
The motorist went ahead and booked the test, but is hopeful of availing of a cancelled appointment close to his expiry date.
As the delays go on at test centres around the North, the PSNI have revealed they are receiving “daily calls and messages” about MOTs.
In a post on their Facebook page, the police reiterated that it is an offence to use a vehicle of MOT test age (vehicles over four-years-old) that doesn’t have a current test certificate.
“PSNI cannot give you extensions,” the post warned.
According to the PSNI post, there are only three circumstances in which it is not an offence to drive without an MOT certificate – if you are driving it to the test centre for a test you have already booked; your vehicle fails its MOT test and you are driving it away from the test centre to somewhere it can be fixed; or your vehicle fails its MOT and you are driving it to or from a place where you had arranged for it to be fixed.
A spokesperson for the Department for Infrastructure (DfI) said that the various measures introduced by the Driver and Vehicle Agency (DVA) were going “some way” to begin to reduce waiting times.
The spokesperson also said that reminder notices were now being issued nine weeks before the current certificate expired. Previously, the letters had been issued seven weeks prior to expiry.
“Our advice to customers is to book their MOT online as soon as they receive the reminder notice,” the spokesperson added.