Tag Archive | "MOT"

GOVERNMENT CONSULTING ON END OF MOT EXTENSION

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GOVERNMENT CONSULTING ON END OF MOT EXTENSION


The government is consulting on plans to end the six-month MOT extension earlier than planned in line with easing lockdown restrictions.

According to the IAAF, the Government intends to amend the Motor Vehicles (Tests) (Amendment) (Coronavirus) Regulations 2020, which were brought in when lockdown began in late March, and exclude light vehicles from mandatory MOT testing.

An amendment would see change the end date of the MOT extension, which is currently set to expire on 29 March 2021. Drivers are given a six-month extension from the date their test was originally due.

An announcement will be made “as soon as possible”, said the trade body.

The DVSA’s consultation document outlines three options for ending the extension while allowing vehicle owners a grace period to obtain a valid test certificate:

  1. To return to mandatory MOT testing in two to four weeks from date of announcement (i.e. an announcement is made that extensions would not apply to any tests due two to four weeks after when that announcement is made);
  2. To return to mandatory MOT testing in four to six weeks from date of announcement;
  3. To return to mandatory MOT testing in six to eight weeks from date of announcement.

The IAAF quotes DVSA figures showing that, despite the extension, current test volumes are at more than 65% of normal levels, and more than 80% of test centres are “routinely undertaking some testing”.

The body adds that traffic levels are returning to normal, so “the longer these Regulations are in effect the greater the risks are to road safety”.

As of 15 June, retail outlets have been allowed to reopen with social distancing measures in place, and the hospitality sector is set to gradually begin operating again from 4 July. While garages have been allowed to operate throughout lockdown, the MOT extension was devised as a means of reducing unnecessary social contact, and to discourage people from leaving their homes.

IAAF members are encouraged to submit their views on the consultation with answers to the following questions:

  1. Do you have any views on the proposals to restart testing, positive or negative?
  2. Of the three periods mentioned above, which would be your preferred time for restart?
  3. Do you have any suggested amendments to the proposals?
  4. Do you have any concerns which you think have not been addressed?
  5. Do you have any other general comments?

Answers should be emailed to anns@iaaf.co.uk by 5pm today (25 June).

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12 MONTH MOT EXTENSION ANNOUNCED AS NORTHERN IRELAND MOT CHAOS CONTINUES

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12 MONTH MOT EXTENSION ANNOUNCED AS NORTHERN IRELAND MOT CHAOS CONTINUES


Ministers in Northern Ireland have chosen to exempt all light vehicles from MOT for a full calendar year. 

Exemptions lasting for four months had been issued prior to the coronavirus pandemic due to problems with the number of working lifts and authorised testers available to conduct the tests.  The current crisis has lead to the system to shut down almost entirely.

Unlike England, Scotland and Wales where the MOT is administered by the DVSA and conducted at thousands of private authorised testing sites, the MOT in NI is only conducted through a small number of Government run sites. Prior to coronavirus it was not uncommon to have to wait months for an appointment, only for it to be cancelled. 

READ: LATEST: NORTHERN IRELAND MOT TEST CRISIS

The Stormont-based Infrastructure Minister, Nichola Mallon told the Press Association newswire: “I have decided the Driver and Vehicle Agency (DVA) will continue to issue temporary exemption certificates (TECs) to those vehicles, private cars, goods vehicles, trailers or motorcycles until their normal MOT date. This means a vehicle will get an exemption for one year which will bring it back into the system when there is capacity to test it”. 

READ: MOT STRIKE ACTION LIKELY IN NORTHERN IRELAND

As CAT understands the current situation, vehicles that have had an MOT expire at any point in the last 12 months will be eligible for the extension and therefore can be taxed. However, it will not be possible to test, and therefore tax a car that has not had an MOT for longer, for example a vehicle that has been in storage that the owner wishes to return to the road, until testing resumes. 

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EXTENDED MOT WILL HAVE ‘CATASTROPHIC’ EFFECT SAY TRADE BODIES

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EXTENDED MOT WILL HAVE ‘CATASTROPHIC’ EFFECT SAY TRADE BODIES


Two trade bodies have issued warnings about the likely impact that the MOT extension will have on independent garages and parts distributors. 

Both The IGA and the IAAF have written to the government to explain how they believe the extension will impact our trade. 

In its letter, the IGA included a suggestion that proposing to government that they start with an initial six-week MOT extension period, which could then then be reviewed on a weekly basis, rather than a blanket six-month extension. 

READ: IAAF BOSS: GOVT. MUST HELP THE AFTERMARKET

In a statement, the trade body said: ‘The government needs to consider that many MOT operations, being small businesses, will have their cashflow seriously impacted once this situation is over. Next year will bring about a significant reduction of tests in March, April and May and with some businesses in this sector only conducting MOT tests, in these instances, the crisis will extend for many years ahead’.

READ: CORONAVIRUS: MORE THAN 60 PERCENT OF GARAGES HAVE SHUT

Stuart James, IGA Chief Executive states: “We really need the government to take this on board. We understand that measures need to be put in place to fight the virus, and support these measures, however we do not agree with the six months extension of MOTs. We urge the government to show a degree of flexibility, as the repercussions for the independent sector will be severe.”

“Better guidance also needs to be given to the public regarding the extension to ensure that vehicles remain roadworthy.”

Meanwhile, The IAAF has said the decision to extend MOTs causes “huge challenges” for the sector, arguing that the industry needs to ensure ‘vehicles continue to be kept safe in these challenging times’. 

 

After receiving feedback from its membership of suppliers and distributors, the IAAF found that many motor factors fear that without MOT business, some garages will no longer be viable.

 

Another concern expressed by members is that the majority of consumers do not realise that they are expected to ensure their vehicle is roadworthy and if not, they could face large fines and penalty points. Failure to meet the Government’s “roadworthy” condition specification means that some vehicles will be driven in a dangerous condition, and in turn would allow the insurance companies to refuse to honour the insurance as they’d be able to demonstrate that the car or van was in an un-roadworthy condition. 

 

Wendy Williamson, IAAF chief executive, said: “The extension is having a ‘catastrophic’ knock on effect on the parts supply chain who are struggling to keep open. Business is down at least 50 percent and some outlets have already closed. We absolutely need to keep essential logistics, blue light services and key workers on the move but these groups could struggle to find anyone open for either parts or repair.”

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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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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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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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MOT STRIKE ACTION LIKELY IN NORTHERN IRELAND

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MOT STRIKE ACTION LIKELY IN NORTHERN IRELAND


Test centres are larger, but far fewer in NI

The Northern Ireland Public Service Alliance (NIPSA) confirmed strike action for civil servants including MoT workers across Northern Ireland for July 26th. 

In Northern Ireland, tests are administered by government employees at approved centres. Testers have seen their workload and a backlog of tests increase after an increase of around 15,000 MOT bookings in the first quarter of 2019 alone. Drivers can expect a wait of up to 47 days to have their vehicle tested according to a report in the Belfast Telegraph. This shortage of testers and testing facilities is exacerbated by  2,300 motorists failing to present vehicles on time, or in some cases turn up for tests at all.

NIPSA confirmed the strike early in July as part of wider civil service action over pay and terms and conditions, demanding that civil service workers receive pay increases in line with that of Health Service, Local Government and Audit Office employees. The alliance also claimed that there have been attempts to ‘undermine civil servants’ terms and conditions of employment.’ In addition to strike action, NIPSA also called for ‘Action Short of Strike Action’ on the 29th. In a statement, NIPSA claimed that 68.5 percent of nearly 6,000 ballot respondents voted ‘Yes’ for strike action. 

“It is clear that members have sent a strong message that they are not prepared to accept a below inflation pay increase for 2018/19 and demand that the pay negotiations are reopened to ensure that civil servants receive an above inflation increase,” read a NIPSA statement. 

The Northern Ireland Assembly has not sat since January 2017, meaning decisions on matters, such as increasing the number of MOT centres to meet demand, have not been taken.

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THE GUARDIANS OF THE ARCHES


First published October 2018

Last year, National Rail announced that it had agreed to sell off every archway property in what would become a £1.5 billion deal with private equity and property management firms Telereal Trillium and New York-based Blackstone Group.This meant that every business – and many garages and workshops – operating out of each of the 4,455 archway properties owned by Network Rail underwent rent evaluations and, perhaps unsurprisingly, prices didn’t go down.  One of these is Clapham North MOT garage, under the brick foundations of Clapham North’s railway arches, has been operating since the 60s under Ronnie Grant, now 93. Prior to the sale, the garage received a letter in November last year notifying them of a rent hike – from £33,000 per year to £147,000.

“It was a demand. End of story,” says Ronnie’s son, George Grant. “We obviously went:  ‘there is some mistake here.’” When it became apparent that the hike wasn’t a mistake, George – who recently took over ownership of Clapham North MOT from his father – and dozens of other small archway businesses formed a group called the Guardians Of The Arches. The exposure from the price hike culminated in a trip to Westminster and a meeting with Transport Minister Jo Johnson, who also brought in the bosses of Network Rail. They revealed plans for the sale. “We absolutely laid into them,” said Grant. The Network Rail figures apologised, saying that they had conducted a ‘desktop review’ of the estate, which resulted in the price hike.

But George was sceptical. He mentions that three years prior, he received a notice saying that Network Rail wanted to redevelop the garage into “a wine bar or something similar.” “How can I say it… they were being ‘creative’ in the way in which they said our garage is located on the high street. It’s not on the high street, it’s set back. We think they had ulterior motives, basically to create an estate which was highly valuable.”

Location

To be sure, the archway properties are ideally located for enterprise. Garages around the country set up shop in similar conditions. But value is more than location and potential; how much a business is really worth can often be gleaned through community feedback, something Clapham North Garage receives in spades and which would be lost if it were sold out of business. “We have a unique way of customers and that is you look after people, it’s not rocket science. We have several generations of customer, and we do such a good job that even people who have moved out of London have come in.”

For Grant, this adds a particular sting to the price hikes. “These business were thriving in their communities. Thriving in conditions most normal businesses wouldn’t occupy because of the damp and noisy arches. These are Victorian premises, and they’re not for everybody. We’ve taken the hit as a business and set ourselves up in them with the knowledge that it’s good enough for us.”

Indeed, gentrification was one of the desired outcomes of the selloff posited by Network Rail CEO Mark Carne (who has since retired). Carne said at the time of the deal that it would bring investment “for the benefit of the local communities and it will help fund a better railway. I hope to see areas around the railway positively transformed with new and refurbished shops, amenities, and extra facilities for local people and passengers.”

Of course, Grant takes a dimmer view of matters, particularly in regards to the motives of the private firms to whom matters are being handed. “You’ve got to remember that these people are completed blinkered. They’re only interested in creating wealth. They are un-transparent, unethical, unfriendly. They do not hold their tenants in any value whatsoever.”

Publicity

For now, the future is opaque. Grant hasn’t had any correspondence with the future private landlords, although he has negotiated and signed a new lease agreement with Network Rail for £59,000, which he expects to begin in the next few weeks. He’s had to adjust his business operations to account for the sudden extra expenditure.

“We’ve taken on more staff, updated our website. I’ve been promoting Clapham North in the motor racing world. I wanted to create more of an impact about what we do. From a business point of view, it’s a case of: you sit down and cry in your hands or you say ‘we’ve got to up our ante.’”

I want to preserve what my father started before I was born,” says George. “I’m going to hold onto it like you wouldn’t believe.”

Railway arch business locations are so abundant that Network Rail was technically the largest provider of small-to-medium-sized business space in the UK, until the sale. Network Rail’s initial statement explained that the sell off would create ‘a significant injection of cash to the taxpayer-owned railways infrastructure company’, allowing it to ‘focus on its core business of improving the passenger experience.’ It cites added investment towards mega projects such as the Thameslink Programme, Crossrail and the Waterloo and South West Upgrade. Meanwhile, Paula Whitworth of Network rail assured CAT that “all tenants’ current leases and rent agreements will transfer to the new owner and be protected.”  

Graham Edwards, co-founder of new archway co-owner Telereal, said at the time of sale: “We and our partner Blackstone believe that our ownership of the portfolio will provide the supportive environment in which these businesses can flourish on a long-term basis … We intend to remain particularly sensitive to the small businesses that have been long-term tenants of the Network Rail estate.”

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INDUSTRY RESPONDS AS CALLS FOR ‘OUTDATED’ MOT TO BE SCRAPPED


The Adam Smith Institute (ASI), a UK ‘think tank’ has released a report suggesting the MOT is outdated and should be abolished.

Following the results of the government’s 4-1-1 consultation earlier this year, the institute researched the annual test to establish its place in today’s society. From its findings, it believes the practice is outdated, stemming from the widespread use of ‘unsafe’ vehicles in the 1950s, and calling reforms over the years; “burdens on drivers due to unsubstantiated assumptions that inspections increase safety.”

The institute’s research suggests that just 2% of all vehicle accidents in the UK are down to mechanical failures, whereas 65% are driver-related, although the latter figure is based on a report written nearly a decade ago. It believes that due to modern safety requirements built into vehicles, both material and technological, the MOT is now irrelevant, and scrapping it would allow for more focus on driver training to prevent accidents.

Drawing comparison with states in the USA that have removed the requirement for periodic testing, the report suggests that the number of mechanical-related accidents did not change from levels when such inspections were mandatory. Therefore, it states that MOT testing is irrelevant, although there is only conjecture that the numbers would not have dropped had testing remained in place.

Referencing the government’s 4-1-1 consultation results, which were published in January, the ASI report states: “The proposal was rejected in part because public consultation suggested that the safety risk outweighed [any] potential saving. Numerous groups spoke out against the proposed change and the supposed safety risk it would entail; however, each of the proposal’s opponents relied entirely on conjecture and extrapolation to justify these claims.”

In its conclusion, the paper surmises: “By continuing inspection programs like the MOT, the United Kingdom places an overly burdensome weight on its drivers to care for their vehicles while overlooking the more serious drivers of roadway fatalities and injuries: the drivers themselves. Even if the program cannot be abolished completely, the MOT program ought to, at a minimum, be seriously overhauled to be less restrictive and wasteful, and to focus on driver behaviour rather than vehicle status.”

Retaliating to the findings, Stuart James, IGA Director commented: “The fact that the UK has one of the best road safety records in the developed world is a testament to the quality of the MOT test.

“The report states that the average repair cost to get a car through its MOT is £143. This indicates that a large number of vehicles are unroadworthy. Every fatality is one too many, and for an average price of £33, the peace of mind that this brings can only be perceived as outstanding value for money.”

Speaking on Twitter, AA President Edmund King added: “What absolute rubbish. In all our polls drivers actually appreciate the importance of the MOT. Going by a number of cars I saw tonight with lights not working, we need MOTs.”

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