MOT Update – June 2022
The DVSA has published an update to MOT stations about recent MOT frequency news, their business plan for 2022 – 2023, and a new blog post discussing how they are tackling MOT fraud.
Potential changes to MOT requirements
The DVSA has sent the following update to MOT stations to provide assurance around MOT frequency, following the news that Transport Secretary Grant Shapps put forward proposals to make MOT tests biannual to save people money:
“In recent weeks, you have probably read some stories about potential changes to MOT requirements.
We recognise that MOT garages want to understand what these changes might involve, when they might happen and how you could be affected.
Before any changes are introduced they would generally require legislation. Prior to introducing legislation, the Government would carry out a thorough public consultation which would give you, members of the public and other interested parties the opportunity to have your say.
Our roads are among the safest in the world and both the Department for Transport (DfT) and DVSA will make sure this remains the case. We want to reassure you that any proposals to change MOT requirements would only happen after a thorough assessment of the safety implications.
Keeping the service under review
The MOT service has been in place for a long time and during that period cars have changed greatly.
There have been considerable safety improvements with more warnings of problems to drivers and automation.
And there are new types of vehicle – hybrid and electric cars in particular, and these may also change the picture.
It is right therefore that DfT keeps the system under review and considers whether changes to testing should be made in the light of these developments.
Staying in touch
We will keep you informed once we know if there are any firmer proposals to change the MOT.”
MOT fraud – a risk to road safety
The DVSA has published a new blog post on their Matters of Testing website to discuss fraudulent MOT practices and what they are doing about it. Marian Kitson writes:
“The MOT test checks that your vehicle meets road safety and environmental standards.
MOTs are carried out by 60,000 privately employed MOT testers carrying out tests in around 23,000 testing stations in Great Britain. DVSA is responsible for regulating MOTs and their providers to ensure they are conducted to the correct standards.
Almost all the 30 million MOTs carried out annually are conducted to the appropriate standard.
For vehicles 3 or more years old, it is a roadworthiness safety net. While vehicles should be roadworthy all year round, the MOT test helps ensure your vehicle is not going to cause you, or other road users, harm.
Testament to the success of the test is how few mechanical issues lead to road accidents. Only 2% of road incidents are due to mechanical failings and we are proud of this proven tool that helps to keep Britain’s roads safe.
However, this hasn’t stopped people trying to cheat the system.
What’re we doing about it?
DVSA monitors the industry closely and acts on poor and fraudulent practice. This is through both proactive work and in response to reports from the public and official bodies.
Increasingly, we are discovering cases where vehicles aren’t even entering a garage but still being issued pass certificates. This is allowing potentially dangerous vehicles to be driving on Britain’s roads.
The latest technology and intelligence-based targeting allows us to track vehicle movements, meaning we know where vehicles are, and where they’re not. We can then compare this with MOT test data to ensure the right outcome.
What’ve we found?
In 2021 to 2022 we saw 1324 total counts of MOT Fraud. 710 of those, were the most serious cases relating to dishonesty and negligence. To put this into perspective, in 2017 to 2018 there were less than half this figure (351). In these most serious cases, we’re able to use the full force of the law. In 2021 to 2022 we prosecuted 20 cases (involving 24 defendants) – a 900% increase from 2018 to 2019.
This may appear low in comparison to the total counts of fraud, but a number of individual cases may form part of a singular prosecution. It is these individuals we are targeting.
We can also ban people from testing. In 2021, we banned a total of 127 Authorised Examiners from running Vehicle Testing Stations, and 288 from the MOT scheme.
This included bans for 85 Authorised Examiner and 185 Tester cases relating to the most serious offences including dishonesty, and gross negligence.
Cases to prove a point
We investigated Thornton-Granville of Mitcham, following a complaint about an MOT conducted on a vehicle in a shocking state of disrepair by member of the public.
An inspection of the vehicle revealed 21 faults, including missing brake pads and missing anti-roll bar. Corrosion on the car was so severe that the security of the body to the chassis was reduced by more than 50%, critically endangering the driver in any impact scenario. This led to a DVSA investigation. When presented with DVSA’s evidence the tester admitted and subsequently pleaded guilty to issuing 152 fraudulent MOT pass certificates at City of London Magistrates Court in March.
He was sentenced to 18 months imprisonment for the charges, suspended for 2 years on the condition he completes 240 hours unpaid work within that period and ordered to pay a contribution towards prosecution costs of £5,000.
138 vehicle MOT certificates issued by Thornton-Granville were cancelled and removed. This meant vehicle owners needed to complete a valid MOT test before their vehicle could return to the road.
Elsewhere, in Hampshire, Paul Rafferty, of Havant was given a prison sentence of 36 weeks in Worthing Magistrates Court on 28 February 2022 following a DVSA investigation. The sentence was suspended for 12 months for 47 falsely issued MOT certificates over a 3-month period.
Rafferty had been issuing the certificates despite the vehicles never entering the two garages he worked at in Petersfield, between November 2020 and January 2021.
All the MOTs of the 47 potentially dangerous vehicles were cancelled. The owners were warned that their vehicles must pass a legitimate MOT before they could return to the road. Rafferty was also given the full 5-year term ban from MOT testing.
We also wrote advisory letters to the owners of a further 113 vehicles who had received MOT certificates from Rafferty.
If you believe an MOT test or centre is committing fraud you can report them.
A message of warning
These cases demonstrate we will not allow qualified testers who we entrust to carry out MOTs to abuse a system designed to keep the public safe for their own personal gain.
We are fortunate to have so many compliant, trustworthy, and honest garages who deliver the MOT safely. We want to ensure they are not unfairly disadvantaged by the greed and criminality of the dangerous few individuals seeking to dupe the system.
The MOT test is designed to keep you and others safe. Don’t risk road safety, don’t cheat the system, choose a valid MOT.”
DVSA business plan, 2022 to 2023
The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency Business Plan for 2022 – 2023 has been published on GOV.UK. This includes an overview of how the DVSA driver and rider testing, vehicle testing and enforcement activity will change and improve over the next 12 months.
The business plan sets out:
- what DVSA’s priorities are between April 2022 and March 2023
- how DVSA will measure its performance during the year
- the resources DVSA will use during the year
In the report, DVSA state that their aims for improvement for the next year include improving their MOT reminder service, continuing to invest in technology to enable new connected test equipment, and using data to better target fraudulent MOT practices.