The Road Haulage Association (RHA) has revealed that the Department or Transport (DfT) will launch a review into current provision of heavy vehicle testing over the months to come.
The review – which follows the RHA’s “relentless lobbying” on the issue – will focus on whether the current roadworthiness testing regime is “fit for purpose” and will seek to gather evidence “as to whether it supports or hinders the effective operation of the haulage and logistics industries”.
The RHA was notified of the plans in late July by Baroness Vere, the roads minister, in a letter to its chief executive, Richard Burnett.
Lady Vere said that DfT had “heard a number of representations” about how the current heavy vehicle testing regime works, and that she expected the department’s work on the issue, which would be supported by DVSA, to conclude by the end of 2020.
Specifically, the minister said that the review was expected to cover issues including: “resilience and responsiveness to the testing system; expected lead times for test bookings and local variations; understanding and reconciling customer, testing facility provider and DVSA information along with evidence and feedback about the current testing system; and establishing a single, clear evidence base with which to assess levels of testing performance.”
Options for the future of vehicle testing would then be considered, if deemed necessary.
Stakeholders including fleet operators, authorised testing facility (ATF) providers and traffic commissioners were envisaged to participate in the review.
The news follows fears that the efficiency of the regime will be hampered for some time to come by a formidable waiting list for test slots, following the pause in tests precipitated by the coronavirus outbreak this year.
Earlier in the summer, the RHA warned that the backlog numbered more than 100,000.