Paper MOT certificates could go as DVSA publishes business plan

Motorists will be encouraged to view their vehicle's MOT status online

Paper MOT certificates could go as DVSA publishes business plan

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) has included several proposals for the MOT test as part of its 2023-24 business plan, published last week.

In the non-executive chair and chief executive’s foreword, the DVSA says it will “keep improving MOT services, including reminders, and increase the use of automated test equipment.”

It goes on to say that it will “work with industry to improve the MOT service following the recent call for evidence.”

This references the government’s MOT consultation, which included a proposal for shifting the date of the first test from three years to four. This is already standard practice in several European countries, including France, Italy and Spain. It would also bring Great Britain in line with Northern Ireland.

The plans were met with criticism from the industry. As part of its response to the consultation, the Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI) said that any change to the current date for the first MOT or the frequency of MOTs would significantly increase road user risk.

“We received a resounding confirmation – 87 percent – from our members that the first MOT should not be extended due to increased road safety risk”, explained Hayley Pells, policy manager at the IMI.

“And whilst only 51 percent of motorists we surveyed felt the same, we believe there is sufficient weight of evidence to give the Department for Transport (DfT) a very clear indication that any change to the start date would be detrimental for all road users.”

In a similar survey, this time on the subject of extending the time between a car’s MOT to two years, rather than annually, the AA found that 77 percent of drivers do not support the change.

Jack Cousens, head of roads policy for the AA, said: “On safety grounds alone, it would be foolish to move away from an annual test and indeed moving the first MOT to four years as many cars show up with brake or tyre defects in that period.”

DVSA business plan, 2023 to 24

Introducing its proposals for the MOT, the DVSA says it “will be guided by the customer needs revealed by our 2022 review. They include the way we deliver approvals, the Heavy Vehicle Testing Review and outcomes from DfT’s call for evidence on MOT testing.”

The key points from the document include:

  • It will work closely with the DfT and industry partners.
  • The implementation of work piloted in 2022-23 on recording photos of vehicles having an MOT.
  • Using technology to identify patterns of fraudulent behaviour in MOT testing stations.
  • Adding data to MOT histories for tests conducted in Northern Ireland in 2022-23.
  • Continue to move away from paper certificates.
  • Encouraging motorists to view their vehicle’s MOT status online.
  • Adding information about outstanding safety recalls to MOT data.
  • Growing tester numbers for commercial vehicle testing.
  • Moving to digital test certificates for commercial vehicle testing.

The DVSA has also set three performance measures for the year ahead:

  • Authorised testing facilities satisfied with the service they receive from the DVSA: 85 percent
  • Operators satisfied with the service they receive from the DVSA: 80 percent
  • MOT centres satisfied with the service they receive from the DVSA: 85 percent

Click here to read the DVSA business plan in full.

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