Vehicle owners will be granted a six-month exemption from MOT testing, in an effort to keep essential workers on the road during the Covid-19 outbreak.
The exemption comes into effect from 30 March, but the Department for Transport has warned that vehicles should only be used “to travel to work where this absolutely cannot be done from home, or shop for necessities”.
MOT tests had already been suspended for heavy vehicles – including lorries, buses and trailers – last week, but the halting of roadworthiness testing has now been expanded to include cars, vans and motorcycles.
Vehicles must be kept in a safe, roadworthy condition, and garages are allowed to remain open to carry out essential repair work.
The official announcement says drivers “can be prosecuted if driving unsafe vehicles”, but it is unclear whether the usual financial penalty for driving without an MOT – up to £1000 in some cases – is still in place.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps 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.”
The universal MOT exemption will be in place for 12 months, but valid MOT certificates remain a legal requirement until it comes into effect on 30 March, and tests are still being carried out.
The cancellation of MOT testing is the latest adjustment made by the Department for Transport in light of the government’s decision to enforce a widespread stay-at-home directive. Practical driving tests have been postponed for three months and London’s Congestion and ULEZ charges have been halted.