Drivers are facing waiting times of up to two months to book an MOT anywhere in Northern Ireland.
Speaking to Causeway Coast Community this morning Claire Sugden MLA said “It’s not good enough for the Dept of Infrastructure to tell drivers who cannot get an MoT appointment that it is illegal for them to drive. Constituents are telling me that 7 weeks is now a typical waiting time for an appointment but a test can only be undertaken up to 30 days before it is due. There is nothing drivers can to do to make sure their vehicles are tested in time and legal to drive. The Department is sending out reminders knowing that test slots are not available.”
“What does the Department expect people to do? Not go to work? Not drive children to school? For those who drive for a living, or work within the vehicle trade, the problem is having a really detrimental impact on their businesses.”
“I am writing to the permanent secretary today asking her to realise the very profound effect this is having on people’s lives – particularly those living in rural areas, and to consider immediate alternatives. Reminding drivers that not having a valid MoT certificate is illegal, when there is nothing they can do about and when the responsibility for creating this situation rests solely with the Department is simply not good enough.”
The Department says the problem arose as a result of unprecedented demand – yet it is the department that knows how many cars are on the road, their age and when their MoT test is due. I do not accept this situation could not have been avoided, the most rudimentary of planning would have foreseen it and enabled timely steps to be taken to avoid it.”
“While a more permanent solution is found an emergency resolution must be put in place. For example, extending the period of current test certificates while the back log is cleared would create a breathing space for the Department to fix the problem. However, whatever solution the Department comes up with it needs to do so quickly”