'It's purgatory': Northern Ireland drivers waiting up to six months for MOT appointment amid backlog

MOT test centres right across the province are still struggling to tackle huge backlogs of drivers seeking appointments.

In some cases motorists are waiting for up to six months and travelling hundreds of miles to secure an appointment.

For those whose tax has also expired, there is more bad news.

As vehicle tax is non-renewable unless the driver has a valid MOT, many drivers are unable to legally use their car, and face the prospect of fines for non tax compliance.

It's left drivers here feeling frustrated and concerned about where they stand in terms of road safety and in the eyes of the law.

One driver told us that the earliest he could get a MOT appointment was December, while his vehicle tax is due to run out in September.

"It's like purgatory and it is quite stressful because you want to be legal and current.", Brian Parks told us.

"Today I went on and found there were seven hundred people in front of me, when you come back to the session it's timed out, so you have to restart and you're constantly doing that every day trying to get a new appointment.

"It's a game of chess."

In a statement the DVA told us that they release a number of appointments on a daily basis and that they encourage drivers to check on the booking system for any cancellations.

They added that the testing capacity has been increased with the recruitment of additional examiners, the use of overtime to provide cover and by offering appointments on Bank Holidays and Sundays.

They also advise that if motorists get to within five days of the expiry date of their vehicle tax and haven't got an appointment, they should contact the customer service team to get an urgent appointment.

Alastair Ross from the Association of British Insurers provided assurances that motorists' insurance cover would not be affected as a result of the MOT backlog.

"The advice is get an MOT booked in as soon as you possibly can.

"If that is going to fall after the date your MOT expires, stick with that appointment.

"If you've done everything you can as a motorist to get an MOT test then your insurers should be continuing the cover that you've got at the moment."

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