BVRLA wants tougher MOT test regime for large vans

  • British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association
  • Large vans should be tested a year after registration
  • Current Class 7 MOT failure rate is nearly 47%

The Department for Transport is currently consulting on the future of the MOT test – and the British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association (BVRLA) has a strong view about how large vans should be tested.

While the BVRLA agrees with plans to extend the new car exemption period from the current three years to four years, it strongly disagrees that the same change should be applied to vans that fall into the Class 7 MOT category – namely those with a gross vehicle weight rating of 3,000-3,500kg (3.0-3.5 tonnes).

In fact, the BVRLA goes further, and says the existing three-year MOT exemption period for newly registered Class 7 vans should be completely abandoned, and that all large vans should be tested every year, regardless of how new they are.

Why does the BVRLA want new large vans tested after only a year?

One word: safety.

According to the official 2015-2016 MOT stats from the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA), 46.8% of large vans failed their MOT at the first attempt.

To be clear, that doesn’t mean the first MOT ever taken, but the first MOT attempt in that period – and that figure is a 2.2% improvement over 2014-2015. Yet it’s still a significantly higher failure rate than other MOT categories.

Rightly compounding the BVRLA’s concern is that large vans increasingly do far higher annual mileage than conventional passenger vehicles – exacerbated by our rising online shopping and delivery habits. This increases the wear and tear they suffer between legal road worthiness tests.

As such, it feels that allowing even brand-new large vans to go three years without being officially inspected is a real risk to public safety.

Why is large van safety such a concern?

BVRLA chief executive Gerry Keaney puts it like this: ‘Van traffic is growing, and these vehicles’ average annual mileages are significantly higher than the average car on UK roads.

‘At a time when the government’s own data shows large vans have appalling first time pass rates, the BVRLA believes these vehicles should be getting tested every year, not every three or four years. Many large vans fail their first MOT because they have not been well maintained and have substandard brakes, so they pose a real risk to road safety.’

We’ve checked the official DVSA figures, and he’s right: 21.7% of Class 7 van MOTs highlighted an issue with the brakes in 2015-2016 – that’s over a fifth. Brakes as a percentage of overall defects is closer to a quarter, at 24.2%.

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