Driving tests and MOTs for heavy vehicles suspended for up to 3 months

DVSA New MOT Notification service

On 20th March 2020 The Rt Hon Grant Schapps MP and the DVSA published the following news story:

Driving tests are suspended for up to 3 months except for critical workers, and MOTs for lorries, buses and trailers are also suspended for up to 3 months.

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) is suspending driving tests in England, Scotland and Wales for up to 3 months from 21 March 2020.

The decision has been made to help prevent the spread of coronavirus as tests lead to extended contact between candidates and examiners in vehicles.

Motorcycle tests are also being suspended.

DVSA has put in place plans to provide tests for critical workers.

Protecting the public

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said:

We are having to take big decisions to protect the public in our national battle against COVID-19. Regrettably, we have had to suspend driver testing for up to 3 months to help tackle the spread of the virus.

It is vital that those who need a test can get one so DVSA is offering tests to those who have a critical need, such as the NHS and drivers delivering goods across the UK.

Those who have tests cancelled will have priority when testing resumes.

Grant Shapps MP, Secretary of State for Transport

The tests being suspended include:

  • car driving tests
  • motorcycle tests
  • lorry, coach and bus driving tests
  • approve driving instructor (ADI) tests and checks

DVSA will contact everyone with a test booked during this time to let them know their test has been cancelled and that it will automatically re-book for them.

MOTs for lorries, buses and trailers

DVSA has suspended MOTs (annual tests) for all heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) and public service vehicles (PSVs) for up to 3 months from 21 March 2020.

All HGV and PSV vehicles with an MOT will be issued with a 3-month certificate of temporary exemption (CTE) until further notice.

Vehicles must be maintained, kept safe to drive (roadworthy) and operate within the terms of operators’ licence conditions.

MOTs for cars, motorcycles and light vans

The Department for Transport continues to keep MOT testing under review and will provide an update in due course.

At 2:15 pm on 21st March 2020 our Editor Jim punter added his observations to the above news report

MOT Testing and the current coronavirus emergency

DVSA’s MOT policy

At the end of last week, to enable us to pass on advice to the MOT sector, we tried very hard to find out what the DVSA suggest should be done regarding operation of the MOT Testing Scheme.

In particular how are AEs and NTs to protect themselves and their customers against the virus. In fact it was impossible to get any ‘on the record’ response from DVSA with most of their staff seemingly working from home and offering the message “We’re absolutely snowed under at this difficult time”, or in one instance, “It’s not for us to decide what Testing Stations should do, that’s a matter for the staff managing those businesses”.

Than suddenly we hear is that Testing is suspended for HGVs for three months, with the vehicles being given a three-month extension. One assumes this is to protect DVSA’s MOT Testing staff who are actually inspecting the vehicles.

We were told last Friday that an announcement was, “imminent” on the general MOT Testing scheme, but nothing materialised.

MOT garages’ policies

We have heard though, that some MOT garages are offering a full collection and delivery service coupled with a pledge to ensure that the vehicle is fully sanitized prior to being delivered back to the owners’ premises, and the whole process will be done remotely without any contact with the vehicle owner.

Whether or not this does provide full protection from infection is difficult to gauge.   

It is, however for the management at MOT businesses to decide what policy to adopt regarding the protection of their staff and their customers from infection, and in the light of any guidance which is expected to be forthcoming from the DVSA.

Motorists’ responsibility

For motorists the situation is quite clear. Unless the Government announce otherwise it is an offence to drive a vehicle on the roads without a valid MOT certificate if it is supposed to have one. It is also important to bear in mind that even if the Government introduce a similar MOT exemption for cars and light commercial vehicles as they have now done for Heavy Goods Vehicles, it is still an absolute responsibility for all drivers to ensure that the vehicle being driven is fully roadworthy – irrespective of its MOT status.

This is very important for motorists to bear in mind especially if the Government do provide a counterpart three-month MOT extension. It should be noted that whilst most haulage companies operating HGVs will have a planned maintenance programme and hence have a good idea of their vehicles’ condition, that probably does not apply to the average private motorist at MOT time.

Every year, thousands of vehicles fail the MOT with with dangerous defects about which the vehicle owner is completely unaware. So despite any potential MOT exemption, motorists should at least take appropriate steps to ensure the vehicles they drive are in a safe, roadworthy condition.

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