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Mix-up over MoT change

A legislative mix-up has left MoT testers worried that they have failed vehicles for incorrect reasons.

Changes implemented on October 1 to MoT rules on vehicle number plates have been temporarily suspended because the required legislation is not in place. It means testers cannot fail a vehicle on these points until the legalities are in force, expected to be next April.

Although road traffic law makes the number plate features illegal, an oversight by the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA) means they cannot yet be reasons for failure in the MoT test.

Testers were worried that the mix-up has left them looking amateurish.

“It’s told us to temporarily suspend some of the latest changes, so some of last week’s fails will be passes this week,” said one test station operator.

However, Stephen Coles, of the RMIF’s MoT Operations team, said it does not mean the features are legal for road use. “Testers should make the owner aware of the offending features and point out that they could be stopped by the police.”

Since 2001, a vehicle has been able to pass the MoT with what the police consider an illegal registration plate. To bring the two into line, the intended new failure points are:

  • Registration plate background overprinted or shadowed with text – eg vehicle manufacturer name
  • Front registration plate does not have black characters on white background
  • Rear registration plate does not have black characters on yellow background
  • Registration plate obviously not displaying the name and postcode of the supplying outlet
  • Registration plate obviously not displaying a BSAU 145d marking
  • Registration plate with honeycomb or similar effect background
  • Registration plate with non-reflective border obviously wider than permitted or positioned too close to the characters
  • Dual-purpose registration plate displaying a symbol other than an acceptable international symbol or flag.

    In a separate move VOSA has also agreed to suspend any mandatory upgrades of MoT testing equipment for test stations until after the outcome of a consultation on MoT test frequency by the Department for Transport.

    It follows lobbying by the RMIF on the grounds that a proposed upgrade of headlamp beam testers by 2008 was too soon for recovery of the cost of investment. The DfT had originally suggested a 2011 deadline.

    The DfT consultation is expected to begin in spring 2008 and could lead to MoT testing every two years, instead of the current annual test requirement.

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