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Vehicle Cleanliness at annual test

21 Dec 2020

Pandemic and Vehicle cleanliness at annual test

It is important that we all work together to offer some protection to those we, and our vehicles, come into contact with.  That includes the presentation of vehicles for annual test where cleanliness has always been a requirement and in some cases a failure, why would operators not present vehicles in the correct state of cleanliness.  The picture below shows a vehicle presented for test in an unacceptable state of cleanliness, and makes you wonder how a driver actually functions in the environment created.


DVSA have the following comments

Every day, Vehicle Standards Assessors (VSAs) put thousands of vehicles and trailers through their annual test.  They carry out this work to make sure vehicle operators can keep safe and moving during the pandemic.


Working together

Across the transport industry, DVSA has worked together to put procedures in place to protect drivers, staff and other colleagues.  This includes a greater focus on making sure vehicles are regularly cleaned.  DVSA have always had a standard for vehicle cleanliness at test. It’s a common sense approach which helps VSAs to carry out their inspections without any restrictions.


Presenting at test

DVSA do not expect your vehicle or trailer to have a full valet before its test.  But their staff do have to get into the cab as part of the inspection. So wiping down the interior of the vehicle beforehand is really important. The government has issued guidance about how to keep transport clean and prevent the transmission of coronavirus from touching contaminated surfaces.   This should also be part of your procedures.


Below is an example of a vehicle presented for test where the standards were not met.

What operators/presenters being asked to do?

VSAs need to be satisfied that the interior of the vehicle has recently been cleaned.

This includes:

•            wiping down areas that the VSA needs to touch (eg. the dashboard, doors and vehicle        


•            clearing away any items like food wrappers, bottles and tissues from areas that need to be

              accessed (eg. seats and footwells)

•            storing essential items in their correct positions (eg. fire extinguisher, hard hat)

•            tidying away any other items that could get in the VSA's way


Refusing a test

There are a handful of occasions where DVSA refuse to test a vehicle because of issues with cleanliness.  VSAs know their policy on vehicle cleanliness and if there’s time, they will give the operator/presenter a chance to clean the cab before refusing to test.  If the standards cannot be met on the day, they’ll issue an official refusal. Trying to find another appointment could cause delays in getting the vehicle back on the road.


Clean vehicles and COVID-19

Refusing a test is something the DVSA do not want to do. But keeping DVSA staff and others safe remains a priority.  Vehicles which are cleaned in line with the guidance will avoid a refusal – and show their staff that you value their work and commitment as they continue to test during the pandemic.  Keeping vehicles clean will help prevent the spread of coronavirus.

DVSA are grateful to the vast majority of operators and presenters who are taking time to adhere to these measures.


Government guidance on how to keep transport clean: