Fleet News

Coronavirus: 'Strong argument' to continue MOT tests during lockdown

FleetCheck says there is a 'strong argument' for fleets to continue car and van MOT tests to ensure safety.

The fleet management software specialist says that at the start of the lockdown period, when the six-month suspension was announced, it looked as though not enough MOT testing stations would remain open for widespread testing to be possible.

However, Peter Golding, managing director at FleetCheck, suggests that may not now be correct.

“When the six-month suspension was first announced, the conventional wisdom was that the vast majority of workshops offering MOT tests would probably effectively close but many are operational,” he said.

“With this in mind, there is a strong argument for fleets to continue with MOTs as normal, whether their vehicles are currently in use or not.”

Golding says that employers need to remember that they are liable for the safety of vehicle, whether it has been officially tested or not.

“If something goes wrong during that six-month period, it is still very much their responsibility,” he said.

Golding, who once managed a MOT testing station, believes there is a high possibility that vehicles will develop safety-critical faults during the six-month delay for testing granted by the Government.

Two days into the lockdown, the Department for Transport (DfT) announced that all cars, motorcycles and vans that require a MOT test would be exempt from needing a test from March 30.

The MOT first time fail rates in pre-lockdown times was around 30% for cars and 40% for vans from 3.0-3.5 tonnes.

Golding said: “Of course, many of the problems identified might have been minor but within these statistics will have been some more serious issues. Leaving things for an additional six months only makes more likely the possibility of faults emerging.”

An additional point to consider, he says, is the potential impact of long periods of inactivity on company cars or vans that were little used during the lockdown.

“Vehicles are not just designed to be parked up and left for weeks or months on end,” he said. “Even if drivers are faithfully carrying out walkaround checks, there is a strong possibility they will not be able to identify potentially serious issues that may be occurring.”

A further factor is the possibility that there could be a potential glut of MOT tests required from September, as delayed tests became due, putting strain on the capacity of the testing system.

“Come the end of the suspension period, it is not unreasonable to expect that there will be at least a doubling of demand for MOTs and it may be difficult to get company cars and vans booked into testing stations. This may impact on your operational capabilities,” cautioned Golding.

“With all things considered, our view is very much that, from a risk management perspective, if MOT tests are available and due during the suspension period, fleets should be carrying them out unless there are genuine extenuating circumstances.”

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  • Sage & Onion - 04/05/2020 12:42

    We are trying to ensure we keep up with MOT test dates on the car and van fleet but we are identified as essential workers so we may have an advantage as some MOT stations may be on restricted opening hours and serving only essential workers. But regardless of MOT stations being open and available, another issue fleets may have is having staff available to take vehicles for MOT if they have furloughed staff. However, for our LGV fleet, it appears we can't even make an MOT booking so where we are wanting to prepare and present for test, we can't get MOT booking slots, and we still don't know how DVSA are planning to exit the current 3-month extension on LGV test certificates or when they will start taking test bookings again.

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