https://movingon.blog.gov.uk/2019/02/20/commercial-vehicle-testing-the-year-ahead/

Commercial vehicle testing: the year ahead

A mobile phone sitting on a desk next to a mouse and keyboard. A heavy vehicle testing pit in the background.

As you know, last year we made some major changes to commercial vehicle testing. We’re very happy with how this went, but we’re not finished improving the service.

This year we’ll prepare for a digital transformation programme, end the phased approach to testing previously exempt vehicles and further improve the heavy vehicle inspection manuals.

Digitally transforming the test for the future

In my previous blog post, I mentioned that we’re currently working on a digital transformation programme for heavy vehicle testing, which aims to:

  • increase testing standards to deliver maximum road safety value
  • give vehicle testing staff the tools to do their jobs effectively
  • make it easier for our customers to do business with us

The service will provide digital support to vehicle testing staff, by giving them a mobile device and a new application. This will allow them to capture test results in real time and upload the data instantly.

The programme will provide both ATF managers and commercial vehicle operators with timely online access to test results. It will also be easier for ATFs to view and manage their financial transactions with us.

Starting the rollout

Our first phase will target the real time digital test result capture of passenger service vehicles (PSVs), followed by trailers then HGVs. You’ll start to see these changes within PSV-only ATFs from April 2019 onwards.

Our ATF customers will get access to an online portal via GOV.UK. This will let them see their transactions and vehicles tested at their premises.

This online portal will be made available for some ATF customers from autumn 2019 and will be gradually rolled out to all ATFs by the end of spring 2020.

We will also be providing operators with improved data on their MOT history using the Check the MOT history of a vehicle’and Get MOT reminders services. Some of this data is already available, but as we capture more meaningful data within the new system, we’ll make this available online.

This short video demonstrates some of the benefits this transformation programme will bring to the commercial vehicle industry. I would welcome your feedback in the comments section below.

Phased testing introduction ending

Last May’s roadworthiness directive meant some heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) stopped being exempt from the annual test.

This was meant to start from 20 May 2018, however, we introduced a phased approach to give businesses time to get their vehicles tested. This has allowed us to phase in the new requirements up to 20 May 2019.

All heavy vehicles are required to have a test certificate before their Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) renewal date while the new requirements are being phased in. For example, if a vehicle’s VED renews on 1 May 2019, you’ll need to get it tested before then.

We encourage operators to make sure that vehicles still to be tested are booked in for test in good time.

Listening to feedback

We’ve listened to feedback from customers and staff following last summer’s changes to our heavy vehicle inspection manuals. This has led us to make some minor changes to help clarify, interpret and improve standards.

We published these changes at the start of this month, which include:

  • adding further guidance relating to anti-theft devices where it’s impractical to assess them
  • updating the notes for front drag link ball joints designed with fore and aft movement to include more vehicle ranges
  • accepting the operation of reverse lamps via a separate switch with a tell-tale at test
  • updating the procedural note for checking full power hydraulic brakes to include up to 4 pressure checks

Moving forward, we’ll continue to review our procedures and standards and would welcome any feedback you have in the comments section at the end of this blog post.

Other improvements

We’re looking at how we might improve the heavy vehicle inspection manuals to make them easier to use. We’ll decide whether their format should match that of the MOT inspection manual and will be engaging with industry on this in due course.

21 comments

  1. Comment by Andrew Waddup posted on

    Hello, can you please tell us when this will come in to force in Cardiff? Our fleet is based here. Thanks Andrew http://www.gopanda.co

    Reply
  2. Comment by mr J R Harlow posted on

    we run a sizable mixed fleet for our own use.we book all our tests a year in advance because it is the only way to get the slots we require. of course the problem comes when you have a test failure or cancel and require a new booking, this can often be in excess of two weeks.you then obviously have a major commercial problem! we are now having to expand our o licences to add spare vehicles to cover for this, and yes if you are a small transport business you are probably either going to pack up or struggle to keep going. if only it was as easy as ringing around to book somewhere else ,it just does not work like that.
    its a bit like add blue/lorries in general, they are now so unreliable you need a spare lorry to cover that too.

    Reply
  3. Comment by Steve Barber posted on

    It looks good in theory. If a vehicle fails it's test, and pictures are taken of the defect to help the examiner retesting the vehicle, will these pictures be available to the operator? It would be very helpful in managing third party maintenance contractors if the operator could use the pictures.

    Reply
  4. Comment by Ron Manser posted on

    Perhaps the preparer ID is taken from who booked the Mot. But this fails when one of my customers books the Mot instead of us.

    What is really failing is the availability of examiners, I had major issues booking a test for January, turns out the examiners have to use their holiday or lose it by the end of January so loads were using it, thus leaving a shortage of examiners. I've also had tests cancelled at a days notice because of the lack of available examiners, this is really not good enough. We used to have one test station near us at Heresden, the next closest was Gillingham. We now have loads of ATF's within an hours drive but it can be impossible to get a test at short notice - I had to phone 7 last year to get a short notice test, and by that I mean the following week.

    Reply
    • Replies to Ron Manser>

      Comment by Julia (DVSA) posted on

      Hi Ron

      Generally, you shouldn’t have a problem getting a slot at an ATF. As you may not be able to get one at your first choice location, you may need to check out appointment availability at several others. You may also need to be flexible with the time of the slot you book.

      Our records show that in December 2018, ATFs used less than 90% of the booking capacity we gave them. We advise operators to book their slots in reasonable time and not leave it too late. Equally, we ask that if ATFs don’t need a booking slot any more they cancel it so it frees up the slot for another business to book.

      If you need a test at short notice, you are likely to have to shop around.

      DVSA cancelled only 28 testing hours with ATFs between September and December 2018. If you can let us have the details of the ATFs you're referring to, we can have a look into this further.

      Reply
      • Replies to Julia (DVSA)>

        Comment by Ron posted on

        Hi Julia, as I said in my original comment I had to phone 7 ATF's to get a test for the following week (2 axle trailer) - this was last July. For years I have booked six months worth of tests in advance, I usually aim to book in October for the following January to June appointments, then in April for July to December appointments, but sometime am a bit late booking. Many times I've been unable to get appointments on a particular day because the ATF doesn't have a tester allocated for that day. We generally use an ATF in Dover, but when they don't have availability I have to phone round others in our area. Not all ATF's test 5 days a week either, so that reduces availability. We use our preferred location as it is nearby, this reduces costs for our customers, down time costs money, labour costs money and driving further uses more fuel which further increases costs. Customers also change their plans, which can lead to needing a test at short notice, this is what happened last July. Testing is only carried out between 08:00 and 15:30 with a break for lunch, we work 07:30 to 17:00. What it really needs is for the ATF's to employ their own staff as with car mot test stations, that way ATF's can carry out testing when they wish - IIRC correctly this was the idea all those years ago when ATF were introduced.

        Reply
      • Replies to Julia (DVSA)>

        Comment by Michael Harris posted on

        Julia, you are completely ignoring what is being said there is limited test dates available its not working and needs to be sorted, at the start of this post it mentions how happy you are with the improvements you have made, but us the customers don't appear to be happy with the so called improvements the fact is the cost of the tests has gone up considerably and the quality and availability of tests has been greatly reduced and you are in complete denial of this.

        Reply
  5. Comment by M K Clark posted on

    The atf testing scheme is a shambles test dates months ahead now with the inclusion of previous mot exempt vehicles will be even worse,As historic vehicles post 1960 (tax exempt) are required to be tested even though they are not used commercially, i agree that if used for this purpose carriage of goods they should be tested in DFT wisdom this mot requirement does not apply to psv vehicles that are VOHI.The 40yr exemtion for hgv is not applied when the greater majority are privately owned and in excellent condition and used for shows and rallies.i assume that you still hold all data for the testing of these vehicles as i am aware your testers have told some owners they are exempt and also some have been told they have no data i am also aware of mot failures because the brake lights are illuminated when handbrake is applied these were standard feature when new so appears data is not held if this is so how do brake tests apply, the saga can go on and on its a minefield plus the inclusion of these historic vehicles for testing puts even more strain on a already overburdened testing situation.

    Reply
    • Replies to M K Clark>

      Comment by Julia (DVSA) posted on

      Hi

      You suggest that the “ATF testing scheme is a shambles test dates months ahead now with the inclusion of previous mot exempt vehicles will be even worse”. So I can get a clearer view, could you contact me to discuss the exact details of the issues you’re facing on the email address below.

      With regard to exempt vehicles, as you will appreciate, DVSA have to apply the requirements laid down in legislation. If you can provide evidence that our staff are incorrectly advising people that their vehicles are exempt, we can address it as a training issue.

      Provided that vehicles have been tested at some time during their life we should still have a copy of the technical record. However, the situation you mention of the brake lamps staying on with the park brake has never been on the technical record.

      We would advise any owner to challenge our inspectors on any technical differences such as this before the failure is issued. Having said that, if there is no technical record available we are still able to conduct a brake test based on the brake system configuration and gross vehicle weight in manual mode on the roller brake tester.

      Darrone.Johnson@dvsa.gov.uk

      Reply
  6. Comment by Mr Parry DAVIS posted on

    Historics, I have to Test some of mine which are post 1959 and the facilities are zero. NO load simulators which involves having to load a historic and NO use of the jacking beam which means having to struggle from full lock to full lock with NO power steering. I appreciate that Historics only form a small percentage of your throughput but some consideration is surely not too much to ask.

    Reply
    • Replies to Mr Parry DAVIS>

      Comment by Julia (DVSA) posted on

      Hi Parry

      While not all ATFs are equipped with load simulators, ATFs are responsible for ensuring that vehicles are loaded satisfactorily.

      Some will provide loads (for which there may be a charge), some are equipped with load simulators or lug down facilities, and others will inform you that you will need to bring your own load. This applies to all vehicles, not just historic ones.

      Although the use of a jacking beam is now optional during the test, all ATF sites must have a jacking beam in case it is required. In the case of a vehicle with no power steering for the lock to lock check, it would be perfectly acceptable to use a pit jack to partially raise a vehicle to relieve any load or strain on the steering.

      Reply
      • Replies to Julia (DVSA)>

        Comment by Mr Parry Davis posted on

        Hi Julia - a list of those ATFs which do have load simulators or similar would be very greatly received. Other than when going for an annual test it is illegal for a Historic HGV to carry a load so this requirement is creating very real problems for historic HGV owners.
        Regarding jacking beam -this was requested but your Tester, shall we say, declined the request.

        Reply
  7. Comment by jolly posted on

    I have given preparing HGV,s for there annual MOT because you just cannot get an appointment for months, absolute joke, how are you supposed to run a transport business?

    Reply
    • Replies to jolly>

      Comment by Julia (DVSA) posted on

      Hi

      Generally, you shouldn’t have a problem getting a slot at an ATF. As you may not be able to get one at your first choice location, you may need to check out appointment availability at several others. You may also need to be flexible with the time of the slot you book.

      Our records show that in December 2018, ATFs used less than 90% of the booking capacity we gave them. We advise operators to book their slots in reasonable time and not leave it too late. Equally, we ask that if ATFs don’t need a booking slot any more they cancel it so it frees up the slot for another business to book.

      If you need a test at short notice, you are likely to have to shop around.

      Reply
      • Replies to Julia (DVSA)>

        Comment by Michael posted on

        Nonsense, for one thing the closest ATF to me is in Worthing it is mercedes main dealer if you want to book a test with them you must also book a pre MOT with them dispite the fact that it could be biased due to the fact that they also offer repairs, the cost of the pre MOT they offer is over twice the price of what I would normally pay, the next nearest ATF to me had a 6 month wait ,I ended up having to travel over 100 miles to get a MOT within a few weeks, & you really think everything is going just fine.

        Reply
  8. Comment by Michael Harris posted on

    it sounds wonderful, but the reality is its near on impossible to get an mot locally with out booking it months in advance completely impractical from an operators point of view this is not being addressed, the purpose built 2 lane testing station at Lancing near to me has been closed, & the nearest viable sites to me are way more expensive and not as suitable for large LGVs
    Who ever is behind these changes has little or no real life experience of running trucks/ the transport business.

    Reply
    • Replies to Michael Harris>

      Comment by Dave Love posted on

      I agree with you. I had a spring suddenly crack and ended up with a prohibition and I had to go all the way to Andersons commercials over 50km away if I wanted to get the prohibition removed within 5weeks. This is becoming a joke we need more ATF’s locally.ATFs should be open until 11pm where demand requires. Stop cutbacks for essentials.

      Reply
      • Replies to Dave Love>

        Comment by Julia (DVSA) posted on

        Hi Dave

        Generally, you shouldn’t have a problem getting a slot at an ATF though there are more in some areas than others. You may need to check out appointment availability at several ATFs if you can't find an appointment nearby. You will need to be flexible with the time of the slot you book.

        Our records show that in December 2018, ATFs used less than 90% of the booking capacity we gave them. We advise operators to book their slots in reasonable time and not leave it too late. Equally, we ask that if ATFs don’t need a booking slot any more they cancel it so it frees up the slot for another business to book.

        DVSA cancelled only 28 testing hours with ATFs between September and December 2018.

        Reply
        • Replies to Julia (DVSA)>

          Comment by Ron posted on

          Julia, you are clearly not listening to your customers, three separate people have told you they are not happy with the availability of appointments yet you've replied to all three with the same reply simply telling us to look around. It's quite clear from my post and the others that we do. I've been booking HGV Mot's since 1999, so with twenty years experience I would hope I know what I'm talking about.

          Reply
    • Replies to Michael Harris>

      Comment by Paul Brookes posted on

      I agree michael and the closure of DVSA lgv stations is aretrograde step and does not favour the small /medium operators and only favours the large

      Reply
  9. Comment by Ben Wisson posted on

    The new hand held testing device looks fabulous but where does the tester input the preparer id to enable accurate MOT test reporting?

    Reply

Leave a comment

We only ask for your email address so we know you're a real person

By submitting a comment you understand it may be published on this public website. Please read our privacy notice to see how the GOV.UK blogging platform handles your information.