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This blog post was published under the 2010-2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

New guide times for heavy vehicle tests

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Vehicle testing

Vehicle tester completing paperwork

We commissioned a work measurement study of heavy goods and public service vehicle annual testing last year, to make sure we have up-to-date, accurate timings.

With almost 80% of all annual tests now being conducted at Authorised Testing Facilities (ATFs), we focussed the study on work carried out at these locations, though we also included observations at our own test stations.

The work was carried out by the Department for Transport’s own in-house analytical consultancy (IHAC) and external engineers from Scott Grant Ltd.

The timing data covered all HGV, trailers and PSVs together with the ATF by type:

  • drive through
  • drive in – reverse out
  • non-standard

We will use these revised average test guide times for all tests booked after 1 July 2014. It is important to understand that these are guide times that cover a range of vehicles in a variety of conditions. ATF operators can use the new times as a guide for scheduling and to plan test lane loading. But these new times are not absolute measures – each vehicle will still be given as long as it takes to have a quality annual test.

The impact these new guide times will have on your business will depend on the mix of vehicles you book for test.

Guide to new heavy vehicle test times
Vehicle group Current
Motor vehicle 2 axle 40 40 0
Motor vehicle 3 axle 45 45 0
Motor vehicle 4 axle 55 55 0
Trailer 1 axle 20 20 0
Trailer 2 axle 25 25 0
Trailer 3 axle 25 30 +5
PSV small <23 seats 50 45 -5
PSV medium 24 to 49 seats 70 50 -20
PSV medium 24 to 49 seats with seatbelts 70 55 -15
PSV large 50+ seats 70 55 -15
PSV large 50+ seats with seatbelts 70 65 -5

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1 comment

  1. Comment by Alan Wilson posted on

    There seems to be some misunderstanding about the extra 5 minutes for booking 3 axle trailers. When these vehicle tests were timed in 2008 they fitted into a 25 minute window - or slot. In the most recent timing exercise, we found that 25 minutes was, on average, too little - so we needed to use the 30 minute slot for booking purposes. On average our inspectors are taking more than 25 minutes now and probably have been for some time, so booking at 25 minute intervals was wrong.

    The test always takes as long as it takes - it depends on the vehicle and how it is presented. DVSA inspectors will not stop at 25 or 30 minutes during a difficult test. They continue until it's done properly. Doing the 'easy' ones in a shorter time means more time for the 'hard' ones in the same testing period.

    The times are average - in reality some trailers will take longer and some will be shorter. In our sample they ranged between 26.3 minutes and 29.2 minutes with an average of 27.7 minutes - firmly in the middle of the 30 minute slot.

    An efficient ATF with knowledgeable and competent shunters, presenting lots of carefully prepared trailers and using reliable processes and equipment might find that their average time is less than that for the whole sample. If that's the case you should talk to your local DVSA Testing Manager about your booking levels. However, if you only test 3 axle trailers infrequently, presented in poor condition (tending to fail on a number of defects), the shunter is inexperienced or your site layout is inefficient then your vehicle tests will tend to take longer than the average time.