MOTs are a legal requirement for every vehicle that travels on UK roads, regardless of whether they are commercially or non-commercially owned and operated. They ensure the safety of cars, vans, trucks and coaches to keep drivers, passengers and all other road users safe.
The dangers of driving a vehicle without an up-to-date MOT check are significant, not to mention potentially legally and financially damaging for your business. Here’s what you need to know about MOT compliance for commercial vehicles.
What are the rules around MOTs for commercial vehicles?
Cars and vans used for business purposes need an MOT like any other road vehicle. These may be arranged by your leasing or fleet provider, but you can book MOT tests online for any company vehicles that you own outright.
Large commercial vehicles need an MOT (sometimes referred to as an annual test) once a year, just like smaller vehicles. These tests are for lorries and buses with a gross weight over 3.5 tonnes, or trailers that meet certain criteria.
Tests for these vehicles can’t be done at normal MOT testing centres. Instead, you need to book them into an Authorised Test Facility (ATF) that can perform the necessary checks.
What are the requirements of commercial vehicle operators?
Goods vehicle operators require specific licences to drive vehicles above a certain weight. There are three main types:
- Standard national licence
- Standard international licence
- Restricted licence
Operators and companies have a legal responsibility to maintain the safety of a commercial vehicle between annual tests. This includes daily checks, dedicated repair facilities and regular safety inspections.
What are the consequences of non-compliance?
Failing to comply with commercial vehicle testing and licensing can have dire consequences for both operators and their employers. Driver conduct hearings can be called when responsibilities haven’t been carried out sufficiently.
Operating a heavy commercial vehicle without the relevant licence can see you fined up to £5,000 and could see your licence revoked or suspended. Driving a business car or van without an MOT could see you fined up to £1,000 and potentially further legal action if the vehicle is seen as unfit for the road.
Staying on top of compliance for all commercial vehicles is imperative. Cars and vans must have an annual MOT, and HGVs and PSVs need an annual test to ensure they are fit for the road. Failing to comply can leave drivers and companies in a tricky situation with the Traffic Commissioner or DVSA.