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Coronavirus: Drivers to be given MOT exemption

Vehicle owners will be given a six-month MOT exemption. (Getty)

Motorists will be granted an MOT exemption to allow people to continue with essential travel during the coronavirus pandemic, the Department for Transport (DfT) has announced.

Vehicle owners will be given a six-month exemption, which will allow them to carry on travelling to work in cases where working from home is impossible, or shop for essentials.

All cars, vans and motorcycles which usually would need an MOT test will be exempted from needing a test from 30 March.

However, the DfT has warned that vehicles must still be kept in a roadworthy condition, and drivers can be prosecuted if they are found to be driving unsafe vehicles. 

The new legislation will be introduced on 30 March and will come into immediate effect for 12 months, following a short consultation with key organisations.

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Drivers who need an MOT test before the new regulations come into effect will still need to get their vehicle tested.

Garages will remain open for essential repair work. Car parts and bike retailer Halfords, which has 446 branches and 369 garages in the UK has received government approval to stay open as a provider of “essential services.”

The Department for Transport said it is working with insurers and the police to make sure people aren’t unfairly penalised if they can’t get an MOT that’s due because they are self-isolating due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The DfT is advising people to stay at home and avoid travel and only go out for the reasons set out in government guidelines — shopping for basic necessities, one form of exercise a day, any medical need, and travelling to and from work if it can’t be done from home.

Practical driving tests and annual testing for lorries, buses and coaches have been suspended for up to three months.

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Transport secretary Grant Shapps said: “We must ensure those on the frontline of helping the nation combat Covid-19 are able to do so.

“Allowing this temporary exemption from vehicle testing will enable vital services such as deliveries to continue, frontline workers to get to work, and people get essential food and medicine.

“Safety is key, which is why garages will remain open for essential repair work.”