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MoT test pass certificates axed as paperwork goes ‘online only’

Garages have axed annual MoT test paperwork, aiming to cut down fraud - not trees

MOT Sign

If you’re hoping to walk away from your next MoT test triumphantly clutching that vital ‘pass’ certificate, you’re going to be disappointed. The government, via the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency, has told garages to stop issuing paper records for a successful MoT test, preferring that drivers view their MoT pass details online.

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The move will make the MoT process slicker, provide better information for customers, minimise opportunities for fraud and save trees, the DVSA says. Between March 2022 and 2023, it says there were 34.5 million MoTs carried out across the UK, and if every one of these tests had an A4 certificate printed the documents would stretch for 4,500 miles end-to-end. Looking at it another way, they’d cover an area equivalent to 295 Wembley Stadium pitches, using 13,8000 boxes of A4 paper, equivalent to more than 4,000 trees.

Those figures were provided by Chris Price, head of MoT policy at the DVSA. It has been optional for garages to print out MoT emissions test passes since January 2021, and optional for the drivers to receive a paper record of the MoT itself since September of that year. However, as of this month garages will not be issuing pass certificates as a matter of policy, although fail certificates are currently remaining in paper form. Back in December last year, however, Price told MoT testers they have the flexibility to not issue ‘fail’ paperwork either. 

“We’re now giving you the flexibility to not issue a paper fail certificate if the customer is able and willing to view the vehicle’s MOT record and history online,” he said, while suggesting paper fail certificates could still be issued for customers with multiple or complex failures so it’s made very clear exactly what fixes are required in any particular case.

“If the customer would prefer to look at this information online using the MOT history service, that’s fine,” he said. “We want them to be able to choose what works best for them.”

What are your thoughts on axing annual MoT test paperwork? Let us know in the comments...

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Current affairs and features editor

Chris covers all aspects of motoring life for Auto Express. Over a long career he has contributed news and car reviews to brands such as Autocar, WhatCar?, PistonHeads, Goodwood and The Motor Trader.

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