Commenting, Mr Buckley said:
"I welcome this call for evidence. It is appropriate that we review the frequency and framework of vehicle testing to ensure it is based on strong evidence and reflects new technological developments. Whilst the safety of road users must be central to any final decision, moving to MOT testing every two years rather than one could help place a more proportionate burden on vehicle owners, reliant businesses and ultimately the taxpayer. There are many factors that still need to be considered - not least the impact on the current DVA estate and its staff – however it is constructive step forward.
Reducing the frequency of tests might ease operational pressures in the longer-term but this must not distract or deflect from the need for immediate and targeted investment to deal with the current crisis facing vehicle testing. Almost 800,000 fewer MOTs were carried out in Northern Ireland in 2021 compared to the previous year. The Minister previously gave an undertaking to ensure full testing resumed from 26 July and we await the next round of figures to see if that pledge has been honoured.
This consultation should not be used to paper over the cracks. Weaknesses in the present system have already been exposed by the pandemic and the multi-million-pound repairs needed to testing infrastructure such as lifts. It is clear that a root and branch review of the operation and capacity of driver and vehicle testing is required to plan for the future and minimise future disruption."