Posted on: 09 March 2018

The Ministry of Transport road safety test was first introduced in 1960 to ensure consistency of safety standards for vehicles over three years of age.

On 20th May 2018 the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) will introduce new rules for vehicle testing procedures with stricter criteria particularly for diesel vehicles such as commercial vans.

What’s changing?

Defect classifications

New defect categories will be introduced to stress the importance of work that needs to be carried out. The aim is to classify issues with vehicles in three ways; dangerous, major or minor. Dangerous and major defects will mean an automatic MOT fail. Minor faults will bring much needed work to the attention of the driver with the aim of emphasising the urgency more than previous specified advisories.

Emission checks

Lower vehicle exhaust emissions limits will be introduced for diesel cars. Vehicles fitted with a diesel particle filter (DPF) that emit ‘visible smoke of any colour’ will be recorded as a major fault meaning an automatic fail. In addition, any vehicle that appears to have had its DPF removed or tampered with will also fail unless it can be proved that this has been done for ‘legitimate reasons such as filter cleaning’.

Vintage car exemptions

Vehicles over the age of 40 years old will no longer be required to undergo the annual road safety test. While this move has been heavily criticised by some, the Department for Transport has defended this decision stating that owners of older, vintage cars typically take better care of their vehicles meaning an annual certificate is no longer necessary.

Additional checks

Other items to be reviewed at the annual road safety test will include reverse lights, steering and checks for oil contamination and wear on brake discs that could generate problems in the foreseeable future.

What do these changes mean for me?

While these changes are being brought into effect following the implementation of an EU Directive, potential for confusion between individual testers has been cited by the RAC spokesman Simon Williams. There is also fear that motorists could end up confused by the introduction of new categories with the potential for misunderstanding of classifications causing uncertainty.

To find out more details about the upcoming changes to MOT testing the DVSA has released a draft MOT Inspection Manual. The final manual will be issued in May 2018.

If your business requires the use of commercial transport, take a look at our comprehensive cover types for business van insurance.

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