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Coronavirus (Covid-19): how it affects vehicle MOTs



The UK Government has recently announced temporary rules in relation to MOT requirements in order to stop the spread of Coronavirus. There are different rules in relation to cars, motorcycles and light vans on one hand, and lorries, buses and trailers on the other. rradar solicitor advocate Alastair Gray outlines the changes.


Following a recent UK Government announcement, from 30th March 2020 the MOT due dates for cars, motorcycles and light vans have been extended by 6 months in order to stop the spread of Coronavirus.


The announcement applies to vehicles registered in England, Wales and Scotland. If the MOT due date for a car, motorcycle or light van falls on or after 30th March 2020 then the extension will automatically apply. You will not need to do anything in order to extend the MOT due date. If your vehicle tax is due, then you can tax the vehicle as soon as the MOT due date has been updated. You can check online at the following link to find out if your vehicle MOT due date has been updated.


If you or anyone you live with is displaying symptoms of Coronavirus, you must stay at home for a specified period. This is known as ‘self-isolation’. Please read the Government guidance on self-isolation in order to understand how long you need to stay at home.


If your car, motorcycle or light van MOT expired during a period of self-isolation before 30th March 2020, you are still required to present it for an MOT test once your period of self-isolation is over. The Government has allowed garages to remain open for MOTs as well as essential repairs and services. If your vehicle tax has also expired during your self-isolation period, you will be unable to renew it as your vehicle will not currently have a valid MOT. In these circumstances, you should register the vehicle as off the road (SORN) and renew your car tax after your period of self-isolation has ended and the vehicle has passed its MOT test.


You cannot drive your vehicle after the MOT date has expired unless you are driving it to a pre-arranged MOT appointment or are taking it to or from somewhere for repair. If you drive your vehicle after expiry of the MOT date for any other purpose, you are guilty of an offence.


The Department for Transport is actively engaging with the Police and insurers across the UK to ensure that members of the public are not unfairly penalised for being unable to get an MOT in light of the Coronavirus pandemic. The Government has advised that you should not take your vehicle for an MOT if you are in any of the groups considered to be extremely vulnerable from coronavirus.


There are different temporary MOT rules in force from 21st March 2020 for lorries, buses and trailers. The UK Government recently announced that from 21st March 2020, lorries, buses and trailers are exempt from needing an MOT for 3 months in order to stop the spread of Coronavirus.


Depending on your vehicle, you may need to apply for an exemption. Most lorries, buses and trailers are automatically exempt. You can check online at the following link to find out if your vehicle has been issued an MOT exemption.


If vehicle tax is due, then the vehicle can be taxed immediately.


Automatic exemption does not apply to all vehicles. If your vehicle falls into one of the following categories then you will need to apply for an exemption:


  • Any vehicle that needed a first MOT test before 31st March 2020

  • A vehicle needing a dangerous goods (ADR) test before 31st March 2020

  • A vehicle or trailer returning to service where the test certificate expired before 31st March 2020


In order to apply for an exemption, or if your MOT has expired since 21st March 2020 and your automatic exemption does not appear to have been put in place, you must email the DVSA. For contact details and information that you must include in your email, please visit the Government article on MOTS for lorries, buses and trailers.


Remember in all cases that you must make sure that your vehicle is safe to drive even if the MOT due date is extended or the exemption applies. Driving a vehicle in a dangerous condition is a criminal offence.


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If, after reading this article, you have further queries regarding the operation of company vehicles, why not talk to our rradarstation advisors? rradarstation is a resource available through the AXA MLP where policyholders can access rradar’s legal advisory team over the phone or by email and web gateway that provides over 2,000 articles, step-by-step guidance sheets, forms, sample letters and templates to download relating to running your business/organisation.