Did you know that this month marks a landmark change in the way MOTs work?
From May 20th, 2018, new rules mean that even if the current MOT on your van is still in date, you could still be fined as much as £2,500 for driving it.
As a tradesman, it goes without saying that the vehicle you drive is every bit as vital to your success as the tools you use on site, so it pays to know just what’s going on with the MOT rule changes.
Here, we look at what’s changed, why it’s changed, and what it means for you.
No more driving your van if it fails its MOT
Under the previous rules, if your van failed its MOT test, you were still technically allowed to drive it until the date that the previous MOT expired, providing, of course, that it was road worthy. This allowed you to keep driving your van whilst also getting the repairs necessary to pass the MOT.
Since May 20th, things are different. Under the new rules, defects to your van are grouped into three categories:
If your van is categorised as dangerous, that’s some seriously bad news. It basically means you’ll have to leave it where it is and you’re not allowed to drive it again until its repaired. And if you do drive it, you’ll get three points on your license and a stinging £2,500 fine.
As if that wasn’t enough, if you’re caught driving a dangerous vehicle twice within three years, you’ll face a minimum six-month ban.
What do the new MOT categories mean?
The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) says that the Dangerous category is for those vehicles which are “a direct and immediate risk to road safety or has a serious impact on the environment.” Naturally, having your van categorised as dangerous is an immediate fail and you’re unable to drive it until it’s fixed.
The “Major” category is also a fail, and applies to your vehicle if “it may affect the vehicle’s safety, put other road users at risk or have an impact on the environment.” The DVSA guidelines insist that if your van is in this category, you should repair it immediately.
There are also three pass categories:
- The first is minor, which means that any defects have “no significant effect on the safety of the vehicle or impact on the environment. If you pass your MOT under this category, you should fix your van as soon as possible
- The second pass category is “Advisory,” which means that potential defects could get worse in future. If you pass under this category, DVSA recommends keeping an eye on the situation and repairing if necessary
- Last, but not least, there’s also the “Pass” category, which means your vehicle meets the minimum legal standard and therefore there’s nothing to worry about
What this means for you
As one of your most invaluable assets, keeping up with regular maintenance of your van – or any other vehicles you use for your business – should always be one of your top priorities. However, with the new rules now in play, it’s never been more important make sure that vehicle is in good, working condition.
Apart from the two-and-a-half grand fine and the three points on your license, failing the MOT also means that details of your van will be uploaded to a central database which can be accessed by the police if they suspect your van shouldn’t be on the road.
What other MOT rule changes are there?
Though the new categories are the changes that most people are talking about, they aren’t the only thing that’s different in how MOTs now work. Tougher rules on diesel emissions have also been enforced for vehicles with a diesel particulate filter (DPF).
Now, if your MOT tester can see smoke of any colour coming from the exhaust, or if they find evidence that your DPF has been tampered with, that’s an automatic major fault.
The other big one is that new items are being tested as part of the MOT test, including whether brake fluid has been contaminated, whether there are fluid leaks causing an environmental risk, and if tyres are obviously underinflated, among other things.
Finally, on a minor note, your actual MOT certificate will change too, with a new redesign that makes it easier to list and categorise the new types of defects.
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