New HGV roadworthiness legislation

New HGV roadworthiness legislation on its way

The government will be introducing new HGV roadworthiness legislation next year. The Department for Transport (DfT) has recently published the response to a consultation, setting out the HGV periodic testing and inspections exemptions which you can read here. It forms part of a wider package of legislation on roadworthiness-related changes, which will come into effect from 20 May 2018.

Who does this apply to?

The big question is, who (and what) does this new legislation apply to? Well, this is aimed at specialised heavy vehicles (which were previously exempt) who will now fall into the scope of annual testing. These vehicles will need to be plated before they are tested.

When will the new legislation take effect?

The DVSA will implement a phased approach for most vehicle types affected, which will extend the date for compliance, under certain circumstances, beyond 20 May 2018 and up to 20 May 2019 at the latest. It’s based on the Vehicle Excise Duty renewal date for the relevant vehicles. This will help to make sure the implementation is carried out in a way that gives industry more flexibility to balance out the testing of their fleet over a longer period.

Which vehicles will now be included?

In total, DVSA estimate there to be around 29,500 vehicles that will be brought into testing. The largest groups of vehicles affected are breakdown vehicles, road construction vehicles and engineering plant.
Top line categories of vehicles to be removed from exemption:
  • Mobile cranes; Break-down vehicles;
  • Engineering plant and plant, not being engineering plant, which is movable plant or equipment being a motor vehicle or trailer (not constructed primarily to carry a load) especially designed and constructed for the special purposes of engineering operations;
  • Trailers being drying or mixing plant designed for the production of asphalt or of bituminous or tarmacadam;
  • Tower wagons;
  • Road construction vehicles (but not road rollers and other specialised equipment not based on an HGV chassis);
  • Electrically propelled motor vehicles registered since 1 March 2015; Tractor units pulling exempt trailers; and
  • Motor tractors and heavy and light locomotives exempted under sections 185 and 186 (3) of the Road Traffic Act 1988, where these are based on a HGV chassis.

It’s worth noting that showman’s vehicles, many of which are currently exempt from testing as plant or motor tractors, will remain exempt from testing via a new specific exemption

Plating and testing

The focus of the consultation was on the requirement for annual roadworthiness testing. However, heavy vehicles within scope of annual roadworthiness testing are also by default within scope of vehicle plating. This involves DVSA issuing a plating certificate, in advance of a vehicle’s first test, to be attached to the vehicle that denotes the maximum vehicle weight and maximum train weight. This assists with vehicle testing and enforcement. There is no fee to vehicle operators for being plated, but this imposes an administrative cost to DVSA, funded by roadworthiness test fees.

Vehicles becoming subject to testing will join the existing goods vehicle testing regime where DVSA personnel test vehicles at Authorised Testing Facilities (ATFs). Where, due to the unusual design of a particular vehicle, this is not possible, the vehicle testers will satisfy themselves that safety and environmental standards will be maintained. The fees for these tests will be the same as applies to all currently tested HGVs

As with all consultations and new legislation changes they are detailed. So if you fall into any of the above categories it is recommended you read the full document which you can find here. Find out more about the phased approach.

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