MOT Certificate – A brief history

The MOT test was first introduced in 1960 under the direction of the Minister of Transport, Ernest Marples under powers in the Road Traffic Act 1956. The test was originally a basic test including brakes, lights and steering check which was to be carried out after the vehicle was ten years old and every year thereafter. This became known as the “ten year test”, or alternatively the “Ministry of Transport Test”. The high failure rate resulted in the age that vehicles became due for testing being reduced to seven years on 31 December 1961. In 1962, the first commercial vehicle exam was created and a valid certificate was required in order to receive a tax disc, and in April 1967 the testable age for an MOT was reduced to three years. On 1 January 1983 the testable age for ambulances, taxis and vehicles with more than eight passenger seats, excluding the driver’s, was reduced to one year.

The list of items tested has been continually expanded over the years, including in 1968 – a tyre check; 1977 – checks of windscreen wipers and washers, direction indicators, brakelights, horns, exhaust system and condition of the body structure and chassis; 1991 – checks of the emissions test for petrol engine vehicles, together with checks on the anti-lock braking system, rear wheel bearings, rear wheel steering (where appropriate) and rear seat belts; 1992 – a stricter tyre tread depth requirement for most vehicles; 1994 – a check of emissions for diesel engine vehicles; 2005 – introduction of a computerised administration system for issuing non-secure test certificates. Also rolled out in 2005 was the creation of the ‘Automated Test Bay’ this differs from traditional testing by adding additional equipment to the bay to negate the use of an assistant during the test; 2012 – checks of secondary restraint systems, battery and wiring, ESC, speedometers and steering locks.

There are various test classes:

Class I — Motor bicycles (with or without side cars) up to 200cc

Class II — All motor bicycles (including Class I) (with or without side cars)

Class III — 3-wheeled vehicles not more than 450 kg unladen weight (excluding motor bicycles with side cars)

Class IV — Cars, including 3-wheeled vehicles more than 450 kg unladen weight, taxis, minibuses and ambulances up to 12 passenger seats, Goods Vehicles not exceeding 3,000 kg Design Gross Weight (DGW), motor caravans and dual purpose vehicles

Class V — Private passenger vehicles, ambulances, motor caravans and dual purpose vehicles with 13 or more passenger seats

Class VII — Goods vehicles over 3,000 kg up to and including 3,500 kg DGW. If a vehicle is presented with a manufacturer’s plate and a ‘Ministry plate’ the weights to be used are those on the ‘Ministry plate’

PSV test (Class VI) — Public service vehicles used for hire or reward with more than eight passenger seats (test conducted by DVSA/DVA staff their own stations, or at DVSA authorised testing facilities (ATF) or designated premises (DP)

HGV test — Goods vehicles over 3,500 kg GVW and trailers over 1,020 kg unladen weight or 3,500 kg GVW if fitted with overrun brakes (test conducted by DVSA/DVA staff their own stations, or at a DVSA authorised testing facility (ATF) or designated premises (DP)

Today the MOT test (or simply MOT) is an annual test of vehicle safety, roadworthiness aspects and exhaust emissions required in Great Britain for most vehicles over three years old used on any way defined as a road in the Road Traffic Act 1988; it does not apply only to highways (or in Scotland a relevant road) but includes other places available for public use, which are not highways. In Northern Ireland the equivalent requirement applies after four years. The requirement does not apply to vehicles used only on various small islands with no convenient connection “to a road in any part of Great Britain”.

MOT derives its name from the Ministry of Transport. The MOT test certificates are currently issued in Great Britain under Vehicle & Operator Services Agency (VOSA), (previously known as the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency or DVSA). MOT Certificates in Northern Ireland are issued by the Driver and Vehicle Agency (DVA). The test and the pass certificate are often referred to simply as the “MOT”.

The MOT certificate has changed a lot over the years this is a sample of them. MOT certificate

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