MOT set for modernisation

A new internet-based MOT testing system is to replace existing MOT computers and Vehicle Testing Station (VTS) devices this year, with the first garages switching over to the new system as early as next month.

The switchover, which will take place between April and September, will require Test Stations to have IT equipment that meets the minimum requirements set out in the government’s MOT Modernisation guidance. Garages will be contacted by the DVSA with a date of transition and the system is likely to go live overnight.

The new MOT test system will enable examiners to enter test results using a desktop in the office or, rather more conveniently, in the test bay using a laptop or tablet.

It’s been reported to be an easy to use system that will bring the MOT test into the digital age with greater flexibility and functionality, making information readily available for the authorised examiner (AE).

Chris Price, DVSA testing product owner, said: “There shouldn’t be any need to look at a manual or a user guide. The system leads you by the hand, right from the start to the finish.”

Perhaps the biggest change is the responsibility for garages to have the right equipment for the job; they will also be responsible for repairing and maintaining it.

Neil Barlow, head of MOT Scheme at the DVSA, said: “In the short term, the key change is around the ICT for the garages. We’re moving away from the existing arrangements with ATOS, where everything is provided in terms of IT, to a web-based service where garages will use their own IT.”

For some test stations, the change may mean they will have to invest in reliable broadband, upgraded computers, laptops or mobile devices, although many should be able to continue using their existing computer systems.

Phil Seymour, Network Manager at Approved Garages, said: “Be aware but don’t rush into purchases. It may be that you already have the right IT equipment the new system needs. Computers bought after 2009 will almost certainly already meet the required specifications.”

The advice from the experts is to ensure that you have a back-up broadband plan in the event of connection failure. That might be as simple as a mobile phone hotspot or, for garages that carry out a large number of MOTs, it might include an IT technical support contract.

A recent study carried out by the DVSA to test the readiness of Testing Stations for the switchover found that 96 per cent of the 7,500 respondents were ready for MOT modernisation.

The same study also revealed that 50 per cent are expecting to use desktop PCs, with 25 per cent opting for laptops while 13 per cent will use tablets.

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