Thursday 26 November 2020

Vehicle annual testing resumes

The Driver & Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) was resuming heavy vehicle roadworthiness testing in Great Britain as of early July, in line with the gradual lifting of the coronavirus lockdown.

The details of this article were correct as of 4 July; please check with relevant agencies and trade associations for more recent updates.

Bookings had reopened, and testing resumed from 4 July. But three-month exemptions were also being applied for the months of July and August, presumably in order to allow the system to cope with the backlog that will have accrued during lockdown.

The piecemeal granting of exemptions has meant that the length of the exemption period varies based on the month in which the annual test was originally due.

Vehicles that were initially due for test during March and April were given two three-month exemptions, while those first due for test during May, June, July and August each get one three-month exemption.

The table (below) shows the dates by which vehicles must pass their tests, which were correct
according to the DVSA website as of 4 July.

“We are working with ATFs to resume testing… and will be increasing the availability of testers over the coming months, in line with social distancing and the latest government guidance,” said DVSA in an email broadcast in mid-June.

In a further bulletin on 29 June, DVSA advised dangerous goods vehicle operators that ADR inspections would also recommence on 4 July.

“If your vehicle has a 3-month test exemption and you get it tested early, you will need to get an ADR inspection,” it said.

“If you do not get your vehicle tested, you will need to apply for an ADR inspection waiver. The waiver can only be used where a test exemption is in force.

“Dangerous goods should not be carried where an ADR inspection has expired and there is no waiver in force for the journey.”

The Road Haulage Association warned that fleet operators should be prepared for potential difficulties in booking annual test slots.

“We urge you to anticipate a reduced capacity… you might not get a slot straight away,” the association said.

“It’s worth noting that DVSA has a test backlog of more than 100,000.”

In Northern Ireland, the Driver & Vehicle Agency position at the time of printing in July was that it had plans to recommence HGV, trailer and bus testing from August.

In all UK nations, readers should keep apprised of the latest news via relevant government and trade association websites.

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