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Phased approach to testing heavy vehicles – a reminder

Published: 12/07/18

Phased approach to testing heavy vehicles – a reminder 

As of 20 May 2018 certain heavy vehicles, based on an HGV chassis, will have lost their plating and testing exemption and therefore fall into the scope of annual testing for the first time.

To declare their weight and load most of them will need to be plated before they are tested.

DVSA is implementing a phased approach for most vehicle types affected. This will extend the date for compliance, under certain circumstances up to 20 May 2019 at the latest. It’s based on the Vehicle Excise Duty renewal date for the relevant vehicles.

This will help to make sure the implementation allows industry more flexibility to balance out the testing of their fleet over a longer period.

Which vehicles? 

  • mobile cranes
  • breakdown vehicles
  • engineering plant and plant, not being engineering plant, which is movable plant or equipment being a motor vehicle or trailer (not constructed primarily to carry a load) especially designed and constructed for the special purposes of engineering operations
  • trailers being drying or mixing plant designed for the production of asphalt or of bituminous or tarmacadam tower wagons
  • road construction vehicles (but not road rollers and other specialised equipment not based on an HGV chassis)
  • electrically propelled motor vehicles first registered since 1 March 2015
  • tractor units pulling exempt trailers
  • motor tractors and heavy and light locomotives exempted under sections 185 and 186 (3) of the   Road Traffic Act 1988, where these are based on a HGV chassis
  • heavy goods vehicles and trailers on the Isle of Bute
  • heavy goods vehicles and trailers on Arran, Great Cumbrae, Islay, Mull, Tiree or North Uist, which are used on mainland Great Britain

A phased approach

The Department for Transport (DfT) has decided to adopt a phased approach for vehicles coming into the scope of testing. This approach will allow the phasing in of the new requirements beyond 20 May 2018 and up to 20 May 2019, for most of the vehicle types affected. However, all vehicles will require a Goods Vehicle Testing Certificate before their Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) renewal date in the course of that year at the latest. 

The phased approach is only for motor vehicles that:

  1. are not in the list of excluded vehicle types below
  2. were first registered before 20 May 2017
  3. were, up to 20 May 2018, exempt from statutory roadworthiness testing, but from 20 May 2018 are subject to statutory roadworthiness testing (the change being effected by SI 2017 No.849)

All other vehicles must have a valid Goods Vehicle Testing Certificate in line with the statutory requirements.

For newly-in-scope vehicles, this applies from 20 May 2018.

Excluded from phased approach

The following vehicles types are excluded from the phased approach (all these vehicles must have a valid Goods Vehicle Testing Certificate from 20 May 2018): 

  • motor vehicles to be used in international traffic
  • mobile concrete batching plant (also known as volumetric concrete mixers) (owing to other potential regulatory changes applicable to them)
  • newly-in-scope tractors (i.e. those with a design speed over 40km/h used for non-agricultural haulage beyond a radius of 15 miles from their operating base)
  • trailers, of all types

Phased approach

For this to apply to eligible vehicles, the following conditions must be met:

  1. a valid Goods Vehicle Testing Certificate must be held at the time of the vehicle’s first VED renewal date after 19 May 2018.
  2. for vehicles without a Goods Vehicle Testing Certificate after 19 May 2018, records of the date and outcomes of at least the most recent “safety inspection” (as opposed to general maintenance) must   be available for inspection by enforcement authorities if required - the person undertaking the safety inspection must be technically competent and operationally aware of the safety standards that apply to the vehicles they examine
  3. the safety inspection is required to be conducted in line with DVSA’s published guidance within the Guide to maintaining roadworthiness
  4. vehicles must be in a roadworthy condition at all times

Providing the above conditions are met, enforcement authorities will not take enforcement action for not having a valid Goods Vehicle Testing Certificate in place after 20 May 2018 and prior to the VED renewal date.

Enforcement action may be taken if the vehicle is not in a roadworthy condition.

Staying compliant

If you’re a vehicle owner or operator:

  • establish whether your vehicle is subject to annual testing
  • assess whether the phased approach applies to your vehicle
  • make sure your vehicle’s safety inspections are up to date if the phased approach applies to you and you're deferring testing beyond 20 May 2018
  • apply for your plates and book the vehicle’s test in good time before your vehicle needs to be tested
  • ensure your vehicle has a valid goods vehicle testing certificate in place by the point of Vehicle Excise Duty renewal after 19 May 2018.

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