The Government is considering ending drivers' MOT holiday early amid fears more than a million unsafe cars could be flooding back onto the roads.
The AA and RAC have led calls for ministers to axe the six-month extension on safety checks granted in March as part of lockdown restrictions.
At the time, the Department for Transport granted an extension to anyone whose MOT was due from March 30 until the end of September, essentially making their certificate valid for 18 months. Under the current rules, drivers whose MOT runs out in September won't have to get their vehicles tested until March 2021.
However, driving associations have warned that the easing of lockdown on July 4 could see hundreds of thousands of unsafe cars back on the roads.
Figures obtained by Motorway.co.uk from the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) show only 2.1 million MOTs were carried out in April and May, compared to 7.1 million in the same time period in 2019.
DVSA figures show on average one third of vehicles fail their MOT on first inspection, meaning that around 1.6 million unsafe cars could now have valid MOTs.
Sources told The Telegraph that ministers are considering whether to end the scheme early as lockdown unwinds .
Edmund King, President of the AA, said he wanted to see the scheme brought to an end within two months as the current exemption "could lead to many more unsafe cars on the road"
He said: "We believe the Government is right to reconsider the reintroduction of light vehicle MOTs.
"We think they should amend the end date of these regulations, with the effect of reintroducing mandatory MOT testing from the amended end date."
Mr King's call was backed by the RAC, which said polling showed only one in seven (14 per cent) of its members were intending to let their MOT run to the full six month extension period, with nearly half 44 per cent planning to get their vehicle checked as normal.
The Government also faced calls to reverse the policy from garage owners, who said their businesses could easily be made covid-secure.
Stuart James, chief executive of the Independent Garages Association said the extensions should end before cars started to flood back onto the roads with further lockdown easing planned on July 4 .
He said: "Now is the time to end the extension. People are being encouraged to use their cars to go shopping and go on days out to boost the economy, rather than use public transport. However, the MOT extension has been in place since March and we now have a situation where there are approximately 1.6 million unroadworthy cars in use on our roads."
Following the calls, a spokesman for the Department for Transport, said: "Vehicle owners have been granted a 6-month exemption from MOT testing, to enable vital services to continue, frontline workers to get to work, and to help people to get essential food and medicine during the COVID-19 outbreak.
"It is still incumbent on vehicle-owners to ensure their vehicle is roadworthy and safe to use, even if they have been granted an exemption. Even with the 6 month extension to MOT checks, people can still take their vehicle in for an MOT test before then if they would prefer to
"The duration of the changes to MOTs remain under review and we will work closely with the industry on future changes to the current exemption."
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