Allowing exemplary commercial vehicle operators to test their own vehicles makes sense, but the Freight Transport Association (FTA) says safety standards must be a priority.

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) has released its five-year year business plan to help drivers stay safe on Britain’s roads. DVSA ‘s strategy includes a commitment to ‘look into the case for allowing exemplary commercial vehicle operators to test their own vehicles if they share their testing data with us’.

Vehicle testing has long been an issue, with problems for some operators over the distance they must travel to a registered test centre and the availability of slots. FTA members agree that self-testing should be permitted for those operators with excellent safety standards. However, they want reassurance that safety and compliance processes will be clearly outlined from the start and any impropriety or wrongdoing is heavily penalised.

James Firth, FTA’s Head of Licencing Policy and Compliance Information, said: “This will bring ultimate flexibility for operators or Authorised Testing Facilities to conduct tests at a time which suits them or their customers. But safety must always be the key consideration – any devolvement of responsibility for testing must not allow standards to slip.”

Many FTA members have always seen the move of the HGV annual test from Government test stations to private facilities as one step on a longer journey towards private testing – where the test is no longer conducted by a civil servant but by an accredited, professional examiner employed in the private sector.