Suffolk garage calls for government to introduce MOT extension again

A Suffolk garage is appealling to the government to extend MOTs again, like it did during the first lockdown.

Mattock's Motors say they are extremely busy and the pressure to fulfill MOTs is causing unnecessary interactions between customers and their mechanics.

Run by couple Richard and Joy Mattock, they've been offering their customers in Boxford the annual safety assessments for the past 20 years.

But last Spring, when the coronavirus outbreak led to the first lockdown in England they closed for 10 weeks. The government also gave motorists a grace period when it came to getting their MOTs.

MOTs due to expire between the 31st March and 31st July were extended by six months. So, if an MOT was set to run out on the 31st July, it will now run out on the 31st January 2021.

However, any MOTs that expire before 31st March 2020, or after 31st July 2020, do not have any extensions and are legally due as normal, before the pandemic and lockdowns.

Joy Mattock believes if it was unsafe for MOTs to continue during the pandemic last year, then it should be considered unsafe now. Credit: ITV Anglia

An MOT, or Ministry of Transport test, was introduced in the 1960s and is an annual examination of your car to make sure it is roadworthy.

You are unable to tax your car if you don't have a valid MOT and you can be prosecuted if you drive or park it on the road without one.

But, as the country is now back in lockdown and England is in its second peak of Covid-19 with high transmission rates, Joy, owner of Mattock's Motors, says the MOT extension should be reintroduced.

She said, "It was safe last year and now we've got much higher transmission rates now, it doesn't seem to make sense. They've got the technology to review it week on week, so they could do it [extend] say for four weeks and then review it weekly thereafter. If we can put men on the moon we can extend MOTs.'

Richard Mattock has been performing MOTs for 20 years. Credit: ITV Anglia

Another area of concern is that the Department of Transport suggests garages pick up cars from people who are shielding to perform MOTs, something Joy says she isn't comfortable about.

There are some rules around Covid-19 and getting your MOT though.

The government says you must not take your car for an MOT if:

  • You or someone you live with has Covid-19 symptoms

  • You are self isolating 

  • Or if you are shielding 

But, customer Bill Richardson told ITV Anglia, it's a tough decision, "I would have to weigh it up really seriously, because nobody wants to break the law do they? And you need the MOT certificate, so I think it should be graced for at least the 6 months, it would ease the pressure on everybody then."