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O’Dowd outlines measures to cut MOT waiting times

Infrastructure Minister John O’Dowd 

Infrastructure Minister John O’Dowd 

Infrastructure Minister John O’Dowd has outlined a number of measures to tackle MOT waiting lists and tasked officials to bring forward other options for urgent consideration.

Speaking in the Assembly on Monday, Mr O’Dowd said he will explore the introduction of temporary exemption certificates and proposals to consult on testing every two years. 

Minister O’Dowd said: 

“I appreciate the frustration many customers are experiencing in trying to obtain an MOT appointment and agree there is a need for motorists in the north to have fair and timely access to vehicle testing.

"Today I have announced a number of measures which have been taken and will have a positive impact for drivers in the short term.

“The DVA currently has 55 MOT examiner vacancies across its network of test centres, it has received 133 applications in its recent vehicle examiner recruitment competition. It is anticipated that successful candidates will begin to be posted to test centres from early June and this will provide additional capacity for vehicle testing across their network of test centres.

“I have asked the DVA to release additional appointments for these new recruits as soon as possible – 55 new examiners will provide the capacity for a hugely significant increase in appointments in a year and will be expected to have a positive impact for our customers. 

“In addition, anyone who cannot secure an appointment before their tax expires, or their tax has already expired, have been advised to contact the DVA customer services team for an urgent MOT appointment. The DVA currently asks customers to contact them within five days of their tax expiry date, but I can confirm that, with immediate effect, the DVA is extending this window to ten days to provide more flexibility for customers and reduce any anxiety.

“I have asked officials to urgently consider a range of other policy options including testing every two years and exemption certificates. I will provide an update on these after Easter.

“There are no simple fixes, and I will have to consider the impacts of these options carefully.  I do not want to do anything that would add to the burden of hard-pressed households from increased insurance, nor reduce road safety when our current road death toll is already so high.”

The Minister thanked MOT test centre teams for their service as they work to manage continuing high demand, pointing out that there were just seven days in 2023 when the Driver and Vehicle Agency (DVA) did not offer MOT appointments across its 15 test centres.

The planned opening of new MOT test centres in Hydebank and Mallusk will provide extra testing capacity for 200,000 vehicles per year.


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