Future test rules relaxed for mobile cranes, breakdown vehicles and other specialised trucks08 November 2017

Operators of heavy vehicles that are losing their exemption to annual testing next year, including mobile cranes, breakdown vehicles and road construction vehicles, among others, have had a reprieve from DfT.

When the loss of the exemption was originally announced in September 2017, they were required to be tested by the date of the change, 20 May 2018.

But in early November, DfT (Department for Transport) announced plans to adopt a phased approach to testing of most of the exempted vehicles in the 12 months to 20 May 2019. Now, they are only required to obtain a goods vehicle testing certificate before the renewal date of their Vehicle Excise Duty in that year (after 19 May 2018).

It said: “This approach will smooth out the annual profile of tests and give industry more flexibility to balance out the testing of their fleet over a longer period.”

For the transition year, DfT has also published guidance about what inspection documents it expects for newly in-scope vehicles. It says: 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. In addition, the person undertaking the safety inspection must be technically competent and operationally aware of the safety standards that apply to the vehicles they examine.

That safety inspection is to follow the DVSA’s Guide to Maintaining Roadworthiness (https://is.gd/nofine), and vehicles must be kept in a roadworthy condition.

Newly in-scope vehicles that must have a test by 20 May 2018, so are excluded from the phased approach, are: all types of trailers, motor vehicles for international traffic; mobile concrete batching plant, as additional regulations are due to apply to them; tractors with top speed of greater than 40kph for non-agricultural haulage.

The plan for a phased approach was first announced by DVSA chief executive Gareth Llewellyn in the November 2017 issue of Transport Engineer magazine.

Will Dalrymple

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