Becoming an owner driver of a van in this industry comes with significant responsibilities. You are legally obliged to ensure your vehicle is safe to be on the roads and this is also important for the smooth running of the courier industry. The best way to do this is with a Ministry of Transport test.
What is an MOT?
This test ensures that your vehicle meets the minimum standard for both environmental and road safety requirements. It confirms that your motor is or is not roadworthy at the time of the test being carried out, which is crucial for couriers.
After its first three years, a van must have an MOT and this must be repeated every year after this. It is against the law not to have your vehicle tested; without an MOT certificate, you cannot get a tax disc, which can invalidate your insurance. Insurers often take a motor’s roadworthiness into account when assessing a claim made as a result of an accident, so it is important to have both your van’s safety and your insurance fully up to scratch.
According to the class of vehicle, the government has set maximum caps on the cost of all MOTs. Most vans fall into class four or seven, which are priced respectively at £54.85 and £58.60. However, garages can and regularly do charge less than the limits set by the government.
What Does it Cover?
While the test does not cover every single thing that could go wrong with a van, it does cover some of the most important considerations, including the functionality of brakes, lights, mirrors, tyres and steering, to name a few.
However, an MOT doesn’t assess the engine, clutch or gearbox, so an owner driver must be vigilant in their own inspections of their vans to make sure to avoid a breakdown. There is also no guarantee that your motor will not break down during the course of the year between tests, regardless of an MOT certificate.
Results and Appeals
The test is carried out on a pass/fail basis. A certificate is awarded if your vehicle passes the test. which is now automatically updated online. If the vehicle fails, it is possible to appeal the decision within the first 14 days; the owner driver must submit a Form VT17 and the van will be retested within five days. If the appeal is successful, a full or partial refund of fees may occur.
Failure to complete an MOT for your vehicle while it is testable is a breach of the law and could result in a penalty notice from the police. This is currently fixed at £60, or could result a court fine of up to £1000.
Ensuring that your motor is roadworthy and safe is no trivial matter. It is crucial that an owner driver starting out for the first time is fully aware of what an MOT entails and makes sure to follow legal procedures. This guide has given a brief overview of what the test entails and how important it is to make sure you adhere to the law.
Norman Dulwich is a correspondent for Courier Exchange, the world's largest neutral trading hub for same day owner driver courier jobs in the express freight exchange industry. Over 4,500 transport exchange businesses are networked together through their website, trading jobs and capacity in a safe 'wholesale' environment.