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New MOT regime contradicts Road Traffic Act, warns Kwik Fit

Fleets could be left confused by changes being introduced to the MOT test this month, with the new rules potentially contradicting the established Road Traffic Act, according to Kwik Fit.

The new MOT categories defects as ‘dangerous’, ‘major’ or ‘minor’

Effective from 20 May, the new MOT will replace the previous ‘pass’ or ‘fail’ system and see defects categorised as ‘dangerous’, ‘major’ or ‘minor’ with the first two resulting in a test failure. However, vehicles deemed to have a ‘minor’ defect will still pass the MOT.

Yet, Kwik Fit says this brings a possible conflict with the Road Traffic Act 1988, which says vehicles must be kept in a roadworthy condition with drivers failing to comply facing a maximum £2,500 fine and three penalty points on their driving licence.

As such, the firm is warning that if a vehicle is driven on the road with a known defect, drivers could be subject to road traffic offences.

Kwik Fit is also warning operators of four key areas that could spell issues for fleets. These include dashboard warning light defects, which will result in a ‘major’ defect being flagged up and thus an MOT failure. In addition, vehicles with diesel particulate filter (DPF) issues or showing signs that the DPF has been tampered with will also get a major fault. The new regime also bring some changes to braking definitions regarding classification of brake discs while front and rear vehicle fog lights are now included within the new MOT.

As such, Kwik Fit is warning that existing fleet policies of owner/operator fleets, contract hire and leasing companies and fleet management companies may contradict what is deemed to be a ‘dangerous’, ‘major’ or ‘minor’ defect under the new MOT rules. 

Dan Joyce, service, maintenance and repair (SMR) business manager for Kwik Fit Fleet, said: “We have an obligation to adhere to MOT rules, but we also have an obligation if a known defect is identified during an MOT test to report that to the vehicle owner and adhere to the fleet policy.

“Communication is critical to comply with both the MOT and Road Traffic Act rules as well as individual fleet policies. We will make vehicle owners and maintenance decision makers aware of defects whether ‘dangerous’, ‘major’ or ‘minor’ and empower them to make the decision on authorisation of any repairs.”

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for 16 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day. As Business Editor, Natalie ensures the group websites and newsletters are updated with the latest news.