DVSA is encouraging heavy vehicle operators to explore whether they can reschedule any annual testing appointments to February or March.
The call comes after the Agency examined likely demand through 2021. That exercise has showed that April is likely to be the first month that a higher-than-normal number of tests will fall due owing to exemptions awarded in 2020. Testers were withdrawn from ATFs on 18 March 2020 and the procedure did not resume until 4 July 2020, leading to the issue of exemptions of up to 12 months in duration.
Lower heavy vehicle testing demand in February and March
In a communication to Authorised Testing Facilities (ATFs), DVSA says discussions with operators and ATFs have shown that February and March will see “a lower number of tests due to expire than normal.”
It adds that if heavy vehicle testing appointments are moved into those months wherever possible, greater certainty can then be provided to meeting expected volumes in April. DVSA has not commented on demand and appointment availability for the months beyond April, but it advises that the testing profile for 2021 “looks a bit different” to what it would otherwise.
The call for heavy vehicles to be presented early for test in February and March where possible represents a change of approach from DVSA. Messages during the period that exemptions were being issued implored operators not to submit them for test any earlier than necessary.
ATFs called on to help DVSA with rescheduling tests
ATFs have been advised to check the published list of every vehicle and trailer that has been granted an exemption to identify those owned by their customers. DVSA has suggested to ATFs that when they are contacted about booking tests, they encourage customers to submit vehicles early to avoid busy months “like April.”
DVSA has also underlined its advice to operators to use the check ATF availability service. Subject to ATFs updating their information, it provides availability information at local test stations.