Tag Archive | "DVSA"

BREAKING: LIGHT VEHICLE MOT EXTENDED BY SIX MONTHS

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BREAKING: LIGHT VEHICLE MOT EXTENDED BY SIX MONTHS


Car van and motorcycle MOTs are to be extended by six months from March 30th.

According to DVSA, vehicle owners will be granted a six-month exemption from MOT testing, enabling them to continue to travel to work where this absolutely cannot be done from home, or shop for necessities.

All cars, vans and motorcycles which usually would require an MOT test will be exempted from needing a test from 30 March. Vehicles must be kept in a roadworthy condition, and garages will remain open for essential repair work. Drivers can be prosecuted if driving unsafe vehicles.

READ: CORONAVIRUS: FACTORS TO REMAIN OPEN

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “We must ensure those on the frontline of helping the nation combat COVID19 are able to do so.

“Allowing this temporary exemption from vehicle testing will enable vital services such as deliveries to continue, frontline workers to get to work, and people get essential food and medicine.

“Safety is key, which is why garages will remain open for essential repair work.”

Legislation will be introduced on March 30 and will come into immediate effect for 12 months, following a short consultation with key organisations. Drivers will still need to get their vehicle tested until the new regulations come into place, if they need to use it.

If you can’t get an MoT that’s due because you’re in self-isolation, the Department for Transport is working with insurers and the police to ensure people aren’t unfairly penalised for things out of their control.

Practical driving tests and annual testing for lorries, buses and coaches have been suspended for up to three months.

 

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HOW THE DVSA DECIDES WHAT STAYS ON THE MARKET

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HOW THE DVSA DECIDES WHAT STAYS ON THE MARKET


CAT spoke to Neil Barlow, Head of Enforcement at the DVSA’s new Market Surveillance Unit, about the outcome of the recent Klarius case, and how the department plans to ensure type approval standards are observed.

Why is there a need for the Market Surveillance Unit? Surely checking type approval comes under the VCA’s remit?

The Market Surveillance Unit checks that products – vehicles and components – available on the UK market meet legal requirements, in particular with regard to safety and the environment. It makes sense for this function to sit with the DVSA because of our enforcement, legal and engineering expertise, and resources – and also to provide a degree of separation from the delivery of approvals. The unit was set up in DVSA nearly four years ago, and it’s produced some interesting work in checking vehicles and components for standards compliance. A lot of this work has been around emissions, but it’s not limited to this by any means. We do work closely with the VCA, but it is run by DVSA and funded by DfT.

Why did the Klarius case collapse? Can you tell us what went wrong?

We’re very limited on what we can say on the recent Klarius case, it was technical issues with how information, held across different Government bodies, was organised for disclosure that caused the problems. DVSA and DfT were disappointed that the evidence we had was not heard.

In the last 3 years we have successfully prosecuted more than 1100 fraud cases, losing only six and no others have been dismissed by the courts in this way. We are proud of this success, but we’d rather not have to use that power. We’d rather manufacturers, importers, wholesalers and retailers were compliant with the law. With that in mind, education and awareness raising is also an important part of what we do. However, we will take enforcement action where we need to and have already had successful cases with the MSU. I expect there will be more to come.

Is there a danger that the MSU could be manipulated by companies that have ‘sour grapes’ with a competitor (emission product supply is a particularly fraught sector)? What steps have been taken to prevent this?

No, I don’t think so. This isn’t a new environment for DVSA to be in. For many years we have conducted enforcement in the road transport and MOT sectors and are alert to the risks of what competitors say about one another. However, those in the market can be a useful source of intelligence – the key is that DVSA is open to receiving intelligence from anyone.

We triage all intelligence received. Where it is of sufficient quality we will undertake our own investigations and come to a judgement on whether there is a case for prosecution or another type of enforcement action. We must be able to satisfy the question of whether prosecution is in the public interest.

How large is the team working on Market Surveillance?

We have six full time staff in the MSU, but we also have access to other resources in DVSA. That includes our Intelligence team, our Counter Fraud and Investigations team along with a full time Prosecution and Legal Services team. We are an organisation rich in mechanical and engineering skill, we therefore have around 350 vehicles examiners to call on should they be needed.

Do you have any other aftermarket parts categories in your sights for investigation? (brake pads etc?)

Our priorities are based on risks that we are aware of – one of the drivers being intelligence – but also information from other countries and other enforcement bodies. We wouldn’t be limited by component type. The MSU could investigate any vehicle or component issue where we have a concern that the relevant legal standards may not being followed correctly. So – we will continue with our emissions testing programme of new vehicles, but also include working across the aftermarket.

At the moment, we have work ongoing in the space of vehicle modifications (to emissions systems), tyres, aftermarket components as well as specialist trailers. In all cases, we are checking for compliance with legal standards – making sure businesses and the public are protected from buying something that is dangerous, harmful to the environment and unlawful.

Our key message to the industry – be that manufacturers, distributors, importers or retailers – is to make sure you understand the relevant rules and are compliant. We will be out and about checking what is out there – and we will take robust enforcement action where needed.

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WAITING WITH FOLDED HANDS

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WAITING WITH FOLDED HANDS


There’s an old dystopian novella called ‘With Folded Hands’ by postwar science fiction author Jack Williamson, in which a new type of robot is launched with an unthinking, unflinching desire to serve humanity. Before long, the mechanical creatures have replaced the police force and then hijacked just about every professional role by being faster and, crucially, cheaper.

The ‘bots appear benign, but anyone who threatens them is lobotomised so they might live their lives in an unquestioning state of ‘happiness’ alongside their mechanical masters. The title refers to a scene towards the end of the book where the protagonist has nothing to do but sit with his hands folded as automation has taken away any occupation he could have held.

Science fiction writers have always had a tendency to scare us in order to get our attention and to make us think about the world. Williamson, Bradbury, Orwell, Huxley et al aren’t just making predictions. I think that it’s more like they are holding a mirror to the reader so they can reflect on society as it is of the moment and consider the path it’s following. All of this brings me nicely onto the subject of connected MOT equipment…

Connectivity, creeping into every aspect of life, prompts a resurgence of these fears and it is true that this technology needs to be treated with transparency and sanction.

But, at the end of the day, it would be nice to offload some menial digital tasks.

READ:DVSA CONNECTED MOT RULES GO LIVE

In the aftermarket, connectivity between garage equipment and a central computer has quickly shrugged off its ill-deserved reputation as a fad, thanks in part to a new set of legislation, introduced earlier this year, aimed at giving the DVSA access to MOT centres’ data. As part of the changes, regulators will only approve roller brake testers that can share test results with the DVSA, and any new MOT centres will only be licensed if they meet the new criteria.

I don’t want to imply that critics of the system are in danger of losing their frontal lobe, but there can be no arguing with the Ministry’s rules. That hasn’t stopped people trying of course; IGA Director Stuart James, for example, argued the development was unnecessary, pointing to the fact that the DVSA ‘already have all the information they need’. Others across the industry have been quick to sing the praises of connected hardware. Some garage directors predicted a decline in MOT fraud rates, while others saw it as a way of emulating some of the benefits of other countries’ state-operated systems.

As an MOT tester myself, I test around six cars a day, trotting from one computer screen to another, jotting down notes on a piece of paper to then take all of these notes to yet another computer and then laboriously enter those same digits into that software, before reading and checking it all again, and woe betide the technician that, for whatever reason, inputs incorrect information.

READ: GEA AGREES TO APPROVE ONLY CONNECTED MOT EQUIPMENT

Human error, of course, does have the potential to creep in, especially with boring, repetitive tasks, and to correct those mistakes can lead to a snowball effect of work for both the MOT station and the DVSA which inevitably takes a bite out of the bottom line.

I’ll admit that the thought of buying yet more equipment to enable state-mandated computing to improve testing does raise financial concerns for me as a business owner. But if it means less time keying in entries, less downtime as a result of errors and a faster MOT test time overall, then perhaps it is time to accept automation.

The Japanese interpret folded hands as a gesture of thanks – and maybe we should, too.

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EMISSION PARTS PRODUCER LOSES COMPLIANCE CASE

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EMISSION PARTS PRODUCER LOSES COMPLIANCE CASE


A case described as a ‘landmark’ has been won by DVSA against a Hampshire-based emission parts manufacturer.

The ruling, described as the first of its kind, against EEC (European Exhaust and Catalyst Ltd) took place at Portsmouth Magistrates Court and concluded on Monday 28 October, resulted in a criminal conviction for the company and a £3,000 fine.

The court also ordered the company to pay costs totalling £10,460 and a statutory surcharge of £170.

READ: KLARIUS DIRECTORS FACE COURT

The parts were diesel particulate filters and were supplied for Euro 5 vehicles when they were only approved for Euro 4 vehicles and did not have a label on the physical product containing the words: ‘ILLEGAL TO SUPPLY FOR VEHICLES APPROVED TO EC REGULATION 715/2007’.

DVSA’s Head of Vehicle Engineering, Neil Barlow said: “Motorists expect that replacement parts available on the aftermarket meet the right specifications for their car. This is the first successful prosecution of its kind. We hope it sends a clear message to other parts manufacturers and distributers that they must sell their products in line with the law or face prosecution.”

The offences relate to the supply of parts that were not approved for the vehicles for which they were supplied for and without the required legal markings.

The judge at the hearing commented that this was a very difficult case for sentencing as it was the first ever prosecution of its kind, but he wanted to bring home the seriousness of offences of this nature in light of emissions and the environment.

READ: ROW ERUPTS OVER CATALYST TYPE APPROVAL

Parts manufacturers and distributers must ensure their products meet the necessary standards and are correctly marked and approved for the vehicles or engine types that they are intended for.

 

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DVSA ‘CONNECTED MOT’ RULES GO LIVE

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DVSA ‘CONNECTED MOT’ RULES GO LIVE


As of 1 October, anyone buying a roller brake tester will need to make sure it’s a model that can connect to the MOT testing service. This includes buying replacement equipment, and as part of the process of getting authorisation to carry out MOTs at a test station.

Equipment must connect to centre

DVSA has worked with the Garage Equipment Association and with roller brake tester manufacturers to develop software that will allow their products to connect to the MOT testing service. The idea is that connected equipment will save time, reduce the risk of error in entering MOT results and help to reduce the risk of fraud.

READ: DVSA BOSS: WHAT WE LEARNT FROM MOT CHANGES

Chris Price, DVSA Head of MOT Policy said: “We’ve brought connected equipment in to modernise testing in MOT garages and reduce the potential for mistakes. It will make testing quicker, more accurate and give motorists greater confidence in the quality of testing. Garages already using this equipment have seen benefits to their business.”

READ: GEA AGREES TO APPROVE ONLY CONNECTED MOT EQUIPMENT

The Authority is also working with manufacturers to develop diesel smoke meters, exhaust gas analysers and decelerometers that connect to the MOT testing service. There are plans to make connectable models of these kinds of equipment mandatory for replacement equipment and new garages too.

 

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GEA AGREES TO APPROVE ONLY ‘CONNECTED’ MOT EQUIPMENT

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GEA AGREES TO APPROVE ONLY ‘CONNECTED’ MOT EQUIPMENT


DVSA has made an agreement with the GEA that no new models of diesel smoke meter, exhaust gas analysers or decelerometers would be approved for use in MOT centres unless they can connect to the testing service.

This follows from a similar agreement between the two organisations last month that roller brake testers for classes 4,5 and 7 would only be approved if they connected to the new service.

From 1 October, new MOT centres will need a connected roller brake tester to receive approval and all garages will only be able to buy connectable roller brake testers as replacements. The same rules will apply to smoke meters, gas analysers and decelerometers, although a date to switch has not yet been announced.

READ: MOT SRIKE ACTION LIKELY IN NORTHERN IRELAND 

Dave Garratt, GEA Chief Exec said:  “The main concern for GEA members is to improve the quality of MOT equipment and remove any possibility of human error in the reporting procedure. Connecting MOT test equipment is a very logical step for us as it removes any “miss keying” by the operator and speeds up the process”.

“Starting by connecting brake testers makes good sense and since the introduction of Automated Test Lanes (ATLs) most may already be connectable”.

“Connecting all types of processor-based equipment is possible and as connectivity is applied across the whole test bay it will add increasing value for the motorist by reducing error and benefit the garage by speeding up the test”.

Chris Price, DVSA Head of MOT Policy said: “DVSA’s priority is to help everyone keep their vehicle safe to drive. We’re bringing in connected equipment to modernise testing in MOT garages and reduce the potential for mistakes”

MOT equipment will communicate directly with centre

“It will make testing quicker, more accurate and give motorists greater confidence in the quality of testing. Garages already using this equipment have seen benefits to their business.”

 

 

 

 

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DVSA BOSS: WHAT WE’VE LEARNT FROM MOT CHANGES

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DVSA BOSS: WHAT WE’VE LEARNT FROM MOT CHANGES


In a blog post, Neil Barlow, DVSA’s Head of MOT Policy has reflected on the changes to the test, implemented in May.

Writing for authorised examiners, he noted: “Before 20 May, the training environment we set up to help you get used to the changes was used by over 12,000 testers. Your feedback showed that most of you found this useful, so we’ll look at providing a similar training environment again for any large changes in the future.”

Barlow observed that testers were taking longer to record defects, though this was ‘hardly surprising’ given the new structure. He also noted that the wording, which had been criticised by a number of testers for being technically or grammatically ambiguous, was being updated.

On a slightly different subject, Barlow wrote how the Agency was reviewing the ‘risk rating’ for testing centres. This will look at a number of factors and the station will be logged under a ‘traffic light’ scheme accordingly. “We’ll do some calculations based around testers and this will be pulled together to form an overall score for the garage. We’re working hard to make sure that this information is clear and open to those that need it” concluded Barlow.

Mixed responses for 4-1-1 proposition

Read Barlow’s full blog post here

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ZAFIRA FIRES: VAUXHALL FACE CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION

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ZAFIRA FIRES: VAUXHALL FACE CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION


A criminal investigation into the Vauxhall Zafira fire scandal has been launched by DVSA.

The government agency is working with officers from Luton Trading Standards to investigate Vauxhall.

In a written statement, Andy Rice, DVSA head of counter-fraud & investigations, said:: “DVSAs priority is to protect you from unsafe drivers and vehicles”.

“We have made it clear to manufacturers that to protect consumers, they should swiftly rectify problems and meet their obligations under the code of practice”.

“DVSA will take the necessary action against any manufacturers who fail to comply with their obligations.”

The long-running saga of the people carriers catching fire dates back to 2009, when the then GM-owned carmaker first had reports of blazes.

Six years later, and following reports of over a hundred more fires, the VM attempted to point the finger at the aftermarket, blaming ‘unauthorised repairs’ to the thermal resistor cut-off on the heater blower, a recall was offered. The repair was unsuccessful in fixing the problem and another recall with a more extensive repair was made.

Following this, Vauxhall bosses were called into a Select Committee hearing and faced questions from MPs.

Although a majority of the 160 recorded fires have resulted in the total destruction of the vehicle, to date there have been no reports of serious injuries.

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TESTING TIMES: DVSA REPORT

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TESTING TIMES: DVSA REPORT


The Driving Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) has published its 2017 annual review, which highlights changes to the MOT testing service and the association’s actions on tackling claims relating to MOT fraud.

According to the report, 511 garages and 483 testers were investigated by the organisation from last year while 45 garages and 111 testers have been stopped testing altogether. A statement from the review said: “With some of these cases there were administrative errors, the more serious cases involved testers who’d issued MOT certificates without actually testing the vehicle. In the most severe cases we took the testers to court, and some received prison sentences”.

In addition, the report outlines 25 new improvements for the MOT testing service with the integration of technical information made readily available for vehicles so testers can carry out the mandatory procedures correctly while being able to identify and remove any defects before retesting.

The agency will continue clamping down on illegal MOT activities within the trade and is in the process of developing an MOT Reminder service for motorists; encouraging them to get their vehicles serviced on time. The statement concluded. “We’re going to look at using new technology to provide streamlined processes for our commercial vehicle testing service. We want to improve our testers’ access to vehicle information at the time of testing, and capture and produce test results digitally. We also aim to improve the service to our customers by simplifying the current payment process, making it easier for them to make payments and view their account in real time”.

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