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Will Biennial MOT testing be introduced?

In Northern Ireland the roadworthiness / MOT test, is the responsibility of the NI Minister for Infrastructure, Nicola Mallon. On Feb 16 2022, Minister Mallon published a summary of findings from a Call for Evidence seeking views on the potential introduction of biennial (every two years) MOT testing for cars, light goods vehicles and motorcycles.

While Biennial testing is the common approach across Europe, currently in NI private cars and motorcycles are first MOT tested at four years old. Light goods vehicles under 3,500kg are first tested at three years old. Each of those vehicle categories are tested annually thereafter.


There has already been a clear indicator of support for the plan. A total of 1,224 responses were received from a wide range of individuals, groups, and those representing the industry.

Advantages of this new biennial MOT testing regime for drivers might include;

  • Reduction in MOT testing costs
  • Reduction in vehicle annual servicing / maintenance costs
  • Reduced waiting times, addressing recent backlogs and capacity issues 
  • Good news for drivers in light of recent fuel price hikes

Response on Road Safety

Within the issued report, upon being asked about the impact on road safety 76% believe that moving to biennial testing would not have any impact on road safety. 

The report also takes into consideration that modern cars are increasingly built with the highest standard of safety features. Vehicle defects are reported to be a very small causation factor in serious Road Traffic Collisions and casualties. 

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