New MOT docs and log books are here
You have to wonder what on earth the Department of Transport is playing at sometimes. Around six years ago, the drill of writing out an MoT Test certificate was phased out by VOSA, in favour of a new computerised system that not only documented the MoT Test status of every vehicle in the land but also required the test examiner to ‘log on’ to VOSA’s website, while the test was being carried out. The subsequent rise in MoT Test costs was attributed to instigating the new technology and ironing out its many bugs. Despite the teething troubles, the computerised system, along with more regular and comprehensive spot-checks of MoT Test examiners, was welcomed and helped to decrease fraud.
As part of this process, the single certificate was abandoned and replaced with three sheets of coloured paper, produced by a special printer, signed by the examiner, prior to being handed to the vehicle’s registered owner. A green sheet indicated a pass, orange designated advisory notices, while red was a failure. The pass sheet also included a peel-off adhesive label, which a car owner could affix to the vehicle, as a reminder of when the next mandatory inspection was due. While this certificate was not totally tamper-proof, it was not that easy for unscrupulous sellers to replicate either.
Yet, in a drive to reduce costs, MoT security appears to have been downgraded. Towards the end of October, VOSA replaced the three coloured sheets with one single piece of white A4 paper, which is of a design and appearance that would be simplicity itself to forge. However, a spokesman at VOSA told me that the ‘new certificates’ should be treated as a receipt only and that any car buyer should check the car’s definitive MoT Test status, on the government database, at www.direct.gov.uk/yourmotcheck. Although this may sound like good advice, the database has been known to ‘crash’ and to be inaccessible. In fact, I am waiting for the day when either a computer hacker becomes bored enough to play merriment with it, or all the details are left on the seat of a train or taxi cab…
So, with recent propositions to change the MoT Test frequency to bi-annual, being driven by a desire to save the motorist money, will the latest cost savings be passed onto the motorist? Of course not. According to VOSA, there is no plan to reduce either the official recommended (or maximum) fee that garages can charge or the fee that VOSA charges to the establishment for carrying out the test, accessing its servers and for using its bespoke equipment. By ditching the reminder sticker, VOSA prefers to promote its MoT Test reminder ‘text message service’ on the new receipts. Naturally, this will cost extra but, at £1.50, there is obviously some profiteering going on. Still, the government needs to raise money, somehow…
SWEATING AT SWANSEA
Meanwhile, savings in one government department are often wiped out by expenses in another. This time, DVLA Swansea is feeling rather red-faced, literally. After sending out new ‘blue’ V5C registration documents to every vehicle owner in the country a few years ago, it is faced with doing it all over again, with new red V5Cs (pictured) starting to drop through the nation’s letterboxes.
According to DVLA, ‘a number’ of blank blue log books were pilfered and the organisation claims that it is reducing the risks to the public of buying either a stolen or a cloned vehicle. That may sound honourable but, as these documents are issued by the DVLA only, it would not take a genius to theorise that an internal mishap could have been responsible for the theft.
If you have not received your new red log book as yet, do not panic. DVLA plans to have completed the mammoth operation by November next year. Fortunately, individuals are not being invoiced for the new documents but, rest assured, we shall be paying for it indirectly. I wonder what colour will be issued next, when a bundle of blank red V5Cs will, invariably, ‘go AWOL’. Brown, perhaps?