Over half of Norther Ireland drivers without MOT due to booking issues

Drivers across Northern Ireland are experiencing a range of issues when booking their MOT test a new survey has revealed.

The Covid-19 pandemic, cracks in testing centre lifts and the delayed completion of two new testing centres in South Belfast and Mallusk have all helped create an unprecedented backlog of MOT tests.

A mass recruitment process across 12 testing facilities is also now in place to try and tackle the delays, however a new survey shows drivers in Northern Ireland are still feeling the strain.

The survey, by Northern Ireland’s largest price comparison site, CompareNI.com, found that over half of NI drivers (58%) admitted they were driving on the roads past their MOT due date as a result of booking issues, meaning over half of vehicles here could be unroadworthy.

The survey also found that 42% of drivers in Northern Ireland had to wait for a cancellation just to be able to book an MOT slot.

When it was possible to book a slot, 43% had to wait over three months for their appointment.

At the time of writing this article, booking information shows that test centres in Armagh, Ballymena, Balmoral, Cookstown, Craigavon, Hydebank, Larne, Lisburn, Mallusk, Newtownards and Omagh had no appointments currently available.

For the four remaining test centres there was a four-month waiting list, with no available appointments until July.  The DVA website also shows further closures to five testing sites throughout February to April for essential maintenance, ranging from two-day closures for car testing to over a week of closures for each site for HGVs.

Commenting on the survey, Ian Wilson, Managing Director of CompareNI.com, said: “It’s disappointing that nearly four years after the beginning of the pandemic 69% of drivers in Northern Ireland say they are still having issues booking an MOT.

“Although the PSNI has agreed not to penalise drivers whose MOTs have expired if the vehicle is in a roadworthy condition, and the driver can provide proof that they have booked an MOT appointment, it creates other issues with vehicle tax and insurance.

“Drivers cannot tax their vehicle without a valid MOT certificate, and without tax, car insurance may not be valid.  The DVA is advising drivers who find themselves caught in this issue to contact their customer services team to see if they can get a more immediate appointment.

“If drivers find themselves facing significant delays and driving on the road past the date of their MOT, it is important to check their insurance policy or speak to the insurer about their concerns. Outside of regular MOTs, it is a consistent condition of insurance that owners maintain their vehicles in a safe and roadworthy state – if drivers have any concerns, they’ll need to visit local repair garages for safety checks and ensure the vehicle has regular servicing, unfortunately this is an extra cost that 39% say they are now having to pay, in lieu of a valid MOT.”

CompareNI.com helps hundreds of thousands of drivers every year find savings on all sorts of motoring products such as bike  and van insurance, and car finance.


MOT TEST CENTRE FIRST AVAILABLE DATE
ARMAGH None Available
BALLYMENA None Available
BALMORAL None Available
COLERAINE 19.7.24
COOKSTOWN None Available
CRAIGAVON None Available
DOWNPATRICK 27.7.24
HYDEBANK None Available
ENNISKILLEN None Available
LARNE None Available
LISBURN None Available
MALLUSK None Available
NEW BUILDINGS 19.7.24
NEWRY 27.7.24
NEWTOWNARDS None Available
OMAGH None Available

 

*Dates checked on 27.2.24

 

Survey Question
Have you had trouble booking an MOT in the last year? Yes 69%   No 25%   N/A 6%
How long did you wait for an available slot? 1-2 weeks   1%
Over 2 weeks  2%
Over 3 weeks 4%
Over a month 12%
Over 2 months 28%
Over 3 months 43%
6 months + 6%
Not applicable 4%
Did you have to wait for a cancellation? Yes 42% No 46% N/A 12%
Were you driving on the road past your MOT due date, because of MOT delays? Yes 58% No 34% N/A 8%
Did you have to spend extra money to check your car was roadworthy in leu of an MOT? Yes 39% No 53% N/A 9%

*CompareNI.com’s findings are based on a randomised survey of 1000 respondents across Northern Ireland in February 2024, which represents a margin of error of approximately 5% at a 95% confidence level.

 

 

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