Too few vehicle examiners at the beck and call of the DVSA has led to renewed calls by the road transport industry to bring vehicle examiners into the private sector. Kevin Swallow reports.

AT THE beginning of 2009 the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency, forerunner of the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA), announced it was to shut down three test stations, and so started the shift to have most truck and coach tests carried out by authorised test facilities (ATFs) built and operated by the private sector; namely dealers, operators and maintenance providers.

This saved government millions of pounds through closing its own truck and bus test stations and selling off its mothballed assets, but there remained a small, but significant caveat; ‘testing will continue to be run exclusively by VOSA staff.’

While trade unions and vehicle operators felt the plan threatened road safety standards, dealers and maintenance providers spotted a golden opportunity, acting quickly to build an ATF and hang a sign up.