Heavy goods vehicles: phased roll-out of annual tests from May 2018

When to get certain heavy vehicles tested if they stopped being exempt from testing on 20 May 2018, records to keep, and safety inspections that must be done.


Some heavy vehicles (based on a heavy goods vehicle (HGV) chassis) stopped being exempt from needing an annual test on 20 May 2018.

For some of these vehicles, you have up until the date your vehicle tax renewal is due to get it tested for the first time. This is known as the ‘phased approach’.

However, other vehicles need to have an annual test certificate from 20 May 2018.

Vehicles that stop being exempt

These categories of vehicles stopped being exempt from annual tests on 20 May 2018:

  • mobile cranes
  • breakdown vehicles
  • engineering plant and plant, not being engineering plant, which is movable plant or equipment being a motor vehicle or trailer (not constructed primarily to carry a load) especially designed and constructed for the special purposes of engineering operations
  • trailers being drying or mixing plant designed for the production of asphalt or of bituminous or tarmacadam
  • tower wagons
  • road construction vehicles (but not road rollers and other specialised equipment not based on an HGV chassis)
  • electrically propelled motor vehicles first registered since 1 March 2015
  • tractor units pulling exempt trailers
  • motor tractors and heavy and light locomotives exempted under sections 185 and 186 (3) of the Road Traffic Act 1988, where these are based on an HGV chassis

HGVs and trailers stopped being exempt from annual tests on 20 May 2018:

  • on the Isle of Bute
  • on Arran, Great Cumbrae, Islay, Mull, Tiree or North Uist, which are used on mainland Great Britain


The phased approach to annual test is only for vehicles that were:

  • first registered before 20 May 2017
  • exempt from annual tests before 20 May 2018

Vehicles that are not eligible

These types of vehicles cannot use the phased approach:

  • motor vehicles to be used in international traffic
  • mobile concrete batching plant (also known as ‘volumetric concrete mixers’)
  • tractors with a design speed over 40km/h used for non-agricultural haulage beyond a radius of 15 miles from their operating base
  • trailers of all types

These vehicles must have a valid annual test certificate from 20 May 2018.

How it works

The vehicle must pass an annual test before its next vehicle tax renewal is due.

Documents you need

You must have a record of the vehicle’s most recent safety inspection (not general maintenance) available for enforcement authorities to inspect. The record must include:

  • the date of the safety inspection
  • the outcome of the safety inspection

Safety inspection

The person carrying out the safety inspection must be:

  • technically competent
  • operationally aware of the safety standards that apply to the vehicle

The safety inspection must follow the guidance in the guide to maintaining roadworthiness.

Keeping the vehicle safe to drive

The vehicle must be safe to drive (roadworthy) at all times.

Enforcement action can be taken if the vehicle is not in a roadworthy condition.

Published 20 May 2018