DVSA has confirmed that 12-month test exemptions will be issued to some operators and vehicles. The step is part of plans to help manage a backlog created by a 15-week suspension of testing due to the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic.

Issuing of three- and 12-month exemptions will continue until March 2021. It follows a call for 12-month exemptions for the most compliant operators by the Freight Transport Association (FTA). Unconfirmed proposals from DVSA to FTA for the continuation of three-month exemptions were earlier reported in routeone.

Strict criteria govern the issue of 12-month test exemptions

12-month test exemptions to will be issued where either:

  • The operator’s whole fleet is part of Earned Recognition (ER)
  • The operator has a green OCRS score, with 50 or more roadworthiness events and a calculated roadworthiness base score of 1.3 or lower on 27 July
  • The vehicle or trailer is up to two years old. That is not linked to ER status or OCRS score.

Three-month exemptions will only be issued where the vehicle has not previously received an extension to its test date, and where it is not eligible for a 12-month exemption.

All exemptions will be applied automatically. They will be based on the original test due date. For example, a vehicle that is eligible for a 12-month exemption, was originally due for test in March and which has already received two three-month exemptions will now be due for test in March 2021.

For PSVs, the day of the month that the test expires on will be retained. As an example, a coach or bus that is due for test on 15 September and which receives a three-month exemption will now be due for test on 15 December.

Ensure records are kept up to date for 12-month exemption to apply

Importantly, DVSA states that 12-month exemptions will only be applied to vehicles and trailers that are specified on an O-Licence. As a result, it has advised operators to ensure that their vehicle lists are up to date by 21 August.

Operators with green OCRS scores can find out whether they qualify for a 12-month exemption by asking for a copy of their OCRS report covering the three-year period to 27 July, the Agency advises.

Three-month exemptions will be applied immediately. 12-month exemptions will be processed from 24 August. Because of that, some coaches and buses will not get longer exemptions prior to their August 2020 test expiry because that date is before 24 August.

Where test appointments are required, DVSA says that it “will be making more testing staff available to Authorised Testing Facilities at short notice.” Because of that, slots may become available quickly. However, it notes that vehicles should only be presented when tests come due.

Where an operator cannot find an appointment having taken all reasonable steps to find one, DVSA says the operator will be able to notify it. More information on that process will be published soon.