Concerns have been raised after road users who are waiting for an MOT have not been able to receive roadside assistance when their car has broken down.

Roadside service providers such as AA and RAC were “refusing” to collect broken-down cars which did not have an up-to-date MOT certificate, according to Fermanagh South Tyrone Democratic Unionist MLA Deborah Erskine, who has received constituent complaints on this issue.

The complaints come as road users are still waiting months to access MOT testing due to a large backlog.

Mrs. Erksine, who is also Chair of the Infrastructure Committee, said: “In recent weeks the number of complaints I have had on this particular issue has risen.

"It is ridiculous that those who are paying members of roadside assistance companies such as AA or RAC are left in a position like this through no fault of their own.

“A few weeks ago, I wrote to the Minister to ask for his intervention, and I was surprised that he felt AA and RAC were being lenient at this moment in time because of the backlogs in appointments.

"My own office contacted AA and RAC through other means to find out that they were indeed refusing to collect broken-down cars that did not have an up-to-date MOT certificate, and there was a failure to recognise the situation.”

In a letter, Infrastructure Minister, John O’Dowd said: “The DVA appreciates that in some cases customers may not be able to have their vehicles tested before their current MOT certificate expires, and has taken steps to ensure that motorists are still able to use their vehicles when they are unable to secure an MOT appointment before their current MOT expires.

“Regarding vehicle recovery firms, both the Automobile Association and the Royal Automobile Club are fully aware of the issues with waiting times for MOTs, and I understand they have adjusted their policies to ensure their customers are not left stranded.

"The AA has confirmed they would continue to provide roadside assistance as long as the vehicle is in a roadworthy and safe condition, the vehicle is properly insured, and the driver can provide proof that a test is booked for the vehicle."

Mr. O’Dowd added: “1 have also asked officials to urgently consider a range of policy options including testing every two years and exemption certificates.

"I will provide an update on these in the near future.”