Following the news that Wales-based garage equipment firm Oakmain Ltd’s sales manager was prosecuted for providing fraudulent solicitors letters to some garages applying to become MOT test centres, it has emerged that the historically “long-time” Garage Equipment Association (GEA) member company have been “struck off” from membership.
Road safety charity TyreSafe has joined a growing chorus of automotive industry opposition to the latest proposal to extend the intervals of the MOT test. The organisation, which has members from all spheres of the UK tyre business sector as well as councils and emergency services, said that plans to require a first MOT after four rather than three years would increase the number of defective tyres and vehicles on the country’s roads. It explained that while new vehicles are often safer than ever, the advanced safety systems they incorporate often rely on the roadworthiness of tyres. Research by TyreSafe and its members suggests that putting more responsibility for ensuring tyres’ roadworthiness on UK motorists could lead to illegal and unsafe tyres remaining fitted to vehicles for longer, as many motorists do not check their tyres frequently enough.
The sales manager of Wales-based garage equipment supplier Oakmain Ltd received a suspended custodial sentence on 16 January 2023. Newport Crown Court found that Thomas Richard Woods “knowingly providing false information in the form of forged solicitors letters to secure MOT garage applications” following a Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) investigation. The company reportedly also completed the MOT Station application (VT01) form, which is required to set up an MOT test station on behalf of customers. The DVSA described the case as “the first-ever prosecution for providing fraudulent solicitors letters used as part of MOT garage applications.”
New analysis of DVSA MOT test data shows that faulty tyres accounted for 13 per cent of failures between July and September 2022. Of all failures, 27 per cent are “dangerous”. Previous analyses of MOT failure data have found that tyres account for between 8 per cent and 22 of all MOT failures. And therefore the latest figures represent long-term median tyre-related failure rates. Since industry sources generally agree that MOTs generate around 20 per cent of total annual UK tyre replacement sales, however you count it, MOTs have a significant impact on tyre maintenance and therefore road safety.
The Department for Transport (DfT) has launched a public consultation on the future of MOTs in Great Britain, which closes at 11:59pm on 28 February 2023. According to the DfT, “Views are being sought to update MOT testing for cars, motorbikes and vans to ensure roadworthiness checks continue to balance costs on motorists while ensuring road safety, keeping up with advances in vehicle technology, and tackling vehicle emissions.” But the short story is that they are once again proposing to “change the date at which the first MOT for new light vehicles is required from 3 to 4 years” under the guise of saving “motorists across Great Britain around £100 million a year in MOT fees” based on a £40 MOT.
On 7 December 2022, the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) published an information article entitled: “part worns: what operators need to know”. The obvious suggestion ‘don’t buy them’ aside, what advice is the DVSA offering when it comes to part worn tyres?
The latest data shows commercial vehicles are issued 10 times more prohibitions three months after their annual test (MOT), according to the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA). And the highlighted examples includes tyres worn to the cords.
The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) has updated the wording relating to its categorisation of motorcycle tyre defects. The associated document, published on 22 August 2022, governs how vehicle defects found during roadside inspections or vehicle tests are categorised and what action will be taken when they’re found. In short, treads near the limit are now subject to inspection notices. The updated wording takes effect on 1 September 2022.
The automotive industry has united in its condemnation of any possible frequency change to the MOT test, with UK AFCAR, the coalition formed to lobby the UK government in a post-Brexit era, calling it a “dangerous step backwards for road safety”.
OTR tyres, seasonal tyres (such as winter and all-season products) and the tyre retail business are our key features this month. As important as the development of the OTR and seasonal tyre segments undoubtedly is, the combination of tectonic shifts in the UK tyre retail landscape and transport secretary Grant Shapps’ decision to once again suggest changing MOT frequency have stolen my column’s attention this month. On the latter point, NTDA chief executive Stefan Hay was understandably riled to learn that Shapps is retreading the meddling-with-the-MOT path (something readers can read more about in the UK section of May’s magazine). Either way, renewed focus on MOT protocol is firmly connected with the ongoing development of the tyre retail business.
In 2019 30.2 million MOTs were completed. That figure increased to 31.3 million in 2021 and it is expected to grow again in 2022. Specifically, over a million more MOTs are expected to be conducted this year compared to 2019, according to SecretService.
The DVSA’s Market Surveillance Unit has commenced testing the compliance of OEM and aftermarket braking components. Testing both performance and labelling in accordance with UNECE 90 Regulation, DVSA recently tested eight different brands of aftermarket brake pads.
The proposal that MOT testing in Northern Ireland should move from annual to biennial testing has stirred up a variety of opinions among the trade and the public and, over the past weeks, National Franchised Dealers Association Northern Ireland (NFDA NI) has drawn attention to the issues currently facing the MOT system in Northern Ireland and the Department for Infrastructure’s proposals for biennial testing.
The results of the recently-published summary of findings show that, while the Independent Garage Association (IGA) and other motoring organisations are strongly against biennial testing, a significant majority of individuals are in favour of the change.
The Independent Garage Association (IGA) is partnering with DVSA to host a presentation to garages across the country in 2022. The idea is to keep businesses up-to-date with “new legislation and industry scams to be aware of, as well as providing an opportunity for discussion of topics such as MOT testing and garage work provision.”