Q: Why do you think MOT extensions and other transport industry legislation changes have been brought into the UK?
Paul Reed (PR): “There have been many extensions put in place regarding vehicle legislation and driver training, due to the current COVID-19 health pandemic. This is completely understandable, as for many individuals and businesses, it is a challenge to get their vehicles to testing sites, or they do not have the resource at the workshops, but they still need to be able to keep their vehicles moving. And, of course, some non-critical workers do not need to be driving at this time.”
Q: How do you think these extensions will affect the transport industry?
PR: “We have to remember that the reality is, vehicles and commercial vehicles especially in the critical supply industry, are working harder than ever at the moment. Many delivery vehicles are doing double shifts and higher mileage – this will also have a knock-on effect on the time recommended between servicing and inspection. Of course, there is also a community of new van drivers on the road, to help with the demand, but who will still be getting used to driving and operating a commercial vehicle.
“What concerns me, is that there is a risk in extending MOT inspections, O-License inspections, servicing and tacho inspections. As an industry, our number one priority must be road safety, and extending these inspections and legislations poses a risk to this. The more intensely vehicles are being utilised, the higher the need for regular, quality maintenance and inspection. We need to ensure now, more than ever, that vehicles on the road are kept safe, legal and compliant. We don’t want road safety to be compromised, which is why it is so important for vehicles, especially those in extreme operation, to stick as close to possible, to their servicing, maintenance and inspection schedules.”
Q: What do you think has changed in the transport industry due to the COVID-19 pandemic?
PR: “As an industry, we need to consider and recognise that right now, vehicles may be used for different purposes than originally intended. Long haul vehicles could become multi-drop vehicles and visa verse – the whole operation is currently changing.
“There is also much more focus on the entire supply chain. The country is currently reliant on delivery from dot com businesses and suppliers. Those couriers and delivery services can only get out to the people who need them if their vehicles are kept on the road by highly skilled technicians. We work with incredible organisations and companies in the blue light, emergency, supermarket and delivery industries, to keep their vehicles on the road and serving the country. This is an absolute priority for our team, and they are incredibly proud to play such an integral part.”
Q: What ideas do you have that you think could help keep the transport industry moving at this time?
PR: “When these extensions come to an end, there will no doubt be a backlog of vehicles needing to be inspected, serviced, annual tests done etc. and at that point, workshops and dealerships across the country may well not have the capacity due to the sheer size of the backlog. Rygor has been in this industry for more than 30 years. We have the expertise and capacity to keep vehicles roadworthy and compliant. We have multiple sites with DVSA-run MOT test centres and ATF’s and our sites remain open with extended hours, for commercial vehicles and even personal vehicles of critical and key workers.
“It would be good, and actually very sensible, to put in short-term and temporary measures where staff in dealerships (who, like our team are highly qualified and irtec licensed) can carry out everything, including: MOT preparation, safety inspections, tachograph calibration and LOLER tail lift [inspection], plus van and car servicing and MOT’s. As an example, at Rygor, we employ more than 300 technical staff – we have the capacity over extended hours across a large geographic area, to maintain commercial vehicles as well as cars. There isn’t necessarily the need to put these extensions in place nationwide, when there is resource out there ready and able to deliver all of these services in line with the required timelines.
“The technical staff, the dealerships, the workshops – we’re all still here to keep the transport industry moving. It’s tough for everybody at the moment, but we need to stand strong, engage fully with our customers, the essential transport supply chain and relevant industry bodies to ensure we can react when needed, to keep vehicles on the road, safe, compliant and maintained fully. This ensures the very best standards of roadworthiness are in place and as for extensions…well of course they are very sensible, but only in areas where resource is an issue. As for the areas where resource is fully available, why not utilise the technical skill available and maintain vehicles at the highest levels with minimal disruption to the customer.”