THE DRIVER Vehicle Agency has suspended all MOT tests for cars and light vehicles across the North of Ireland with immediate effect.
It said inspections of lift faults in test centres, including the one at Newbuildings in Derry, did not provide “sufficient assurance” on the effectiveness of ongoing repairs.
An inspection of all vehicle lifts MoT centres across the North of Ireland previously detected “signs of cracking” in 48 of 55 lifts.
MoT exemption certificates are being issued so motorists are able to drive.
The DVA said anyone scheduled for a car or light vehicle MoT on Tuesday “should not attend”.
Test on heavy goods vehicles and buses will continue.
A source has told Derry Daily that the situation with the MOT centres is a “shambles”.
One said: “The whole situation is a joke. These lifts are inspected by an outside contractor every six to eight weeks.
“And then twice a year there is much thorough inspections of the lifts. So there has been no proper explanation as to how this happened or even how these cracks have appeared.
“DVA is in a shambles. The roads are crumbling. There are potholes on practically every road up and down the country, including the motorways.
“It is little wonder SInn Fein, the DUP, and the Ulster Unionists didn’t take the DfI (Department for Infrastructure) brief.
“The SDLP would have been better taking the Health Ministry.”
Paul Duffy, chief executive of the DVA said the situation “is hugely embarrassing”
He told BBC NI News: “I think we have a fairly good reputation and this is something that has tarnished that reputation.
Mr Duffy said he had sought assurances from the contractor responsible for supplying, maintaining and servicing the lifts that they were safe to use.
He said: “We were given that assurance when the initial repairs were taking place, but that assurance then was not forthcoming from the contractor this evening on further inspections of lifts today.
“On that basis we had no option but to suspend the tests.”
He said Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon had asked for a second opinion “on the quality of the inspections that have taken place” and that the DVA was exploring all options, including how quickly new lifts could be purchased.
In a statement, Mr Duffy added: “The DVA recognises the considerable inconvenience and disruption this will cause for many people and sincerely apologises that it has been unable to rectify this situation more quickly.“Given the urgency of this situation, we are asking the public to follow media, social media channels and nidirect for updates.
“Staff will also be kept fully informed by their centre managers.”
About 5,000 MoT tests had already been cancelled after the cracks in lifts were detected.
Drivers affected by disruption at vehicle test centres were told on Saturday they would be granted temporary MoT exemptions from Monday.
However, these cannot be issued for four-year-old cars or taxis.
This is because four-year-old cars have never been through an MoT test before, meaning they do not have a certificate to extend, while taxis are covered by different legislation.
The DVA previously said these vehicles would be prioritised and Mr Duffy said on Monday that their tests would be carried out in the lanes normally only used to for lorries and buses – which remain open.