The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) has suspended MOTs for all heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) and public service vehicles (PSVs).
The suspension will last for up to three months from last Friday (March 20).
All HGV and PSV vehicles with an MOT will be issued with a three-month certificate of temporary exemption (CTE) until further notice, said DVSA.
Vehicles must be maintained, kept safe to drive (roadworthy) and operate within the terms of operators’ licence conditions, it added.
Commercial Fleet first became aware of operators having trouble booking MOTs for HGVs last week.
A transport manager, who wished to remain anonymous, told Commercial Fleet that the test centre called her and said they were cancelling all MOT services.
She then phoned other test centres to try and book her vehicle in for a MOT, but she was told they were not taking any bookings as they did not know whether they were going to have the staff in to work on the lorries.
“We’re a family run business and we depend on our lorries going out daily,” she said.
However, after some initial confusion, the Government announced on Friday (March 20) the new guidance for operators.
Lorries and trailers due for test in the suspension period will be issued with exemptions automatically. Some vehicles, such as those due for their first MOT test and vehicles returning to service with a test certificate that expired before March, will require an application for exemption certificates.
Richard Burnett, chief executive of the Road Haulage Association (RHA), said: “These are unprecedented times that need creative and pragmatic new approaches.
“It is vital that all vehicles on our roads remain safe to use and their roadworthiness must be maintained at all times. Routine testing is a vital part of our safety culture and we believe it should be restored as soon as possible.”
The RHA does have concerns about the three-month suspension, however. It believes that roadworthiness testing should recommence as soon as possible using qualified ATF staff operating under delegated authority from the Secretary of State.
The RHA believes delegating the testing to qualified staff, in a similar way to that done for car and van MOT’s, would be the most effective and safest way to restore the system.
Burnett concluded: “Authorised delegated testing through the existing testing centres would increase efficiency of the system, will be better for operators and will be the most effective way to recover the system when testing restarts.”