July 31, 2021
A recent report by What Car? revealed that the DVSA MOT Compliance Survey (2019-2020) found that one-in-seven (13.58%) vehicles that passed their MOT should have failed – equating to more than 2.9 million vehicles on UK roads. In total, the DVSA disagreed with the test outcomes in 16.82% of cases, with 3.23% of failures deemed to be worthy of a pass certificate. Following this, the DVSA issued 24 disciplinary action recordings and 179 advisory warning letters to the vehicle testing sites it visited.
Chris Price, the DVSA’s Head of MOT Policy, has said: “We carry out the MOT Compliance Survey to maintain MOT standards. The survey targets a random selection of vehicles and is designed to identify problems with MOT testing in order that we can put them right.”
However, many testers would argue that forensically inspecting random vehicles is not the fairest or most effective way to monitor standards. Instead, they feel that DVSA should be targeting the testers and test centres that regularly bend testing standards and ignore the regulations.
What Car? surveyed 1,425 used car buyers and found 11.9% claimed to know a garage with a reputation for returning MOT passes. But if Joe public is aware of these garages, the DVSA are too.
As the DVSA said themselves – “Like everything that involves people, things can sometimes go wrong with MOT tests. A defect might be missed, or it might be given the wrong defect category. And of course we do know that sometimes things aren’t done right on purpose. So we’ve improved our system that helps us spot the risk of these types of things happening regularly.
We’ll assess every vehicle testing station (VTS) to consider its potential risk of non-compliance with the MOT testing service requirements, using a revised approach to risk rating.”
The DVSA’s MOT Compliance Survey is part of a multipronged assault on offenders, combined with artificial intelligence to highlight where the risk of non-compliance is highest. The DVSA collect huge amounts of information which enables them to see exactly what is going on in every testing station across the country. This enables DVSA Vehicle Examiners to make more effective targeted inspections, where they already know what they are looking for, and who, before they even set foot in your testing centre.
The MOT Compliance Survey provides the DVSA with valuable insight into what is happening on the ground. This is used to shape the syllabus for future MOT Training and Continuous Professional Development.
DVSA VE’s gain significant knowledge of what is likely to go wrong with a huge range of vehicles – information which the DVSA has been collating for over 7 years. They are able to anticipate the likelihood of failure of certain vehicles of a certain age and mileage. Powerful algorithms mean they can pretty much predict the outcome the moment you register a MOT test.
We have a close working relationship with the DVSA, and pass on any updates straight to our users as well as educate testers on the reasons behind the regulations, through our monthly MOT Training and CPD.
In the 2019-2020 survey, brakes and suspension were listed among the biggest discrepancies. Brakes had the highest number of misidentified defects, at 17.74%, followed by the suspension (14.56%), tyres (13.22%), and lights, reflectors and electrical equipment (11.51%)
So it would make sense for MOT testers to pay particular attention to these areas in their own testing methods and routines. You are required to regularly review your failure rates through Test Quality Information (TQI). However, you should also keep an eye on vehicles you are passing with advisories that potentially should have been failures. If in doubt, check the MOT manual and ask other testers or your MOT Site Manager. You’re welcome to ring us on 01293 911 120 and we can ask our MOT testers if they have seen something similar, but we will not tell you whether you should pass a vehicle or not. We can also give you the DVSA’s number to ask them directly.
Keeping yourself up to date and informed through MOT Training and CPD is key, whether you are a MOT Tester or a Site Manager – as we all continue to work with the DVSA to ensure fair and safe testing standards.