DVSA has warned that demand for heavy vehicle test appointments will be “significantly” higher than normal during August, September, October and November. It has thus urged operators with tests that fall due in those months to consider rearranging them for May, June or July.
The Agency says that a series of exemptions that were issued after a suspension of testing for a period in 2020 has skewed how expiry dates fall. “As a result, test dates are not evenly spread… and August, September, October and November are significantly busier than normal,” it notes.
DVSA adds that such a position during those months “will put pressure on the wider industry, including those involved in preparing vehicles for test and maintaining them throughout the year, as well as [on] capacity available at authorised testing facilities (ATFs).”
May, June and July will see “much lower test volumes,” DVSA continues, hence its recommendation that operators bring forward tests due between August and November if possible. Such an approach will help to avoid similar issues “in future years,” it adds.
The latest call on operators to look at rescheduling tests follows a similar exercise earlier in 2021. At that time, work by DVSA showed that April was likely to be the first month where demand for heavy vehicle test appointments would be higher than normal. The Agency asked operators to consider whether they could present vehicles due for test then in February or March instead.
The ATF Operators Association (ATFOA) has long questioned how DVSA will deal with the backlog created by the three-and-a-half-month suspension of heavy vehicle tests from March 2020. It quickly offered a set of recommendations to DVSA to help tackle the problem. ATFOA has continued to call for delegated testing since then, although a recent government review of heavy vehicle testing appeared to end any hopes of that.
DVSA continues to advise operators to utilise its check ATF availability service: