/>
X

Photos: MOT database targets illegal cars

18,500 garages finally linked to delayed system
By Andy McCue, Contributor on
40148667-1-mot3.jpg
1 of 5 Andy McCue/ZDNET

18,500 garages finally linked to delayed system

The MOT computerisation project is the single biggest change to the testing scheme since it was introduced in the 1960s. The 10-year £230m private finance initiative (PFI) contract was awarded by the Vehicle & Operator Services Agency (Vosa) to Siemens Business Services (SBS) in 2000.

Vosa began linking garages to the central database last April and has now completed the rollout to all 18,500 authorised MOT testing stations in the UK - three years later than originally planned.

But Alex Fiddes, director of the private vehicles sector at Vosa, told silicon.com: "This is not a simple IT system and we said we would not rush to meet artificially imposed milestones."

Photo credit: Siemens Business Services

40148667-2-mot4.jpg
2 of 5 Andy McCue/ZDNET

Garages and testing stations are equipped with a printer, PC, smart card reader and modem free of charge (above is a screenshot from a garage testing station PC). Vosa pays SBS £1.09 for every pass carried out using the MOT system.

SBS established two mainframes in Blackpool which hold the central MOT database of vehicle information, test results and details of authorised examiners and testers. The garages and Vosa are connected to this database.

Police can use the system to check MOT certificates, and the system will link in with automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) databases which can check against a list of vehicles without MOT certificates in future.

The MOT computerisation project aims to take a million illegal and dangerous cars off the UK's roads and provide greater protection for motorists and consumers.

Photo credit: Siemens Business Services

40148667-3-mot1.jpg
3 of 5 Andy McCue/ZDNET

Each authorised user of the MOT system in the garages and testing stations is provided with a smartcard with a contactless chip, which has their personal photograph on the front.

The tester can access the system by placing the smartcard in the reader provided and entering their password.

The vehicle is then registered for a test by entering the registration mark and chassis number to match the DVLA record, which will provide the tester with all the information relevant for the vehicle being tested. If a match cannot be found with a DVLA record, a new record is created based on the vehicle details presented.

Photo credit: Siemens Business Services

40148667-4-mot2.jpg
4 of 5 Andy McCue/ZDNET

The equipment provided to the garages is all ruggedised to prevent oil, grease and grime damaging the PC or keyboard.

Training is provided for mechanics in the garages as well as back-up support from a Vosa helpline, which currently receives around 1,400 calls a day. But Vosa claims most garages - even the less computer literate ones - are able to get up to speed with the computer system within two weeks of installation.

Once the test is completed the mechanic enters the results before printing off either a pass certificate or failure notice, together with any advisories such as items that have not failed but are close to doing so and should attended to in the near future.

The garage then securely connects to the central MOT database using a dial-up modem supplied by Vosa, and the information is updated in just a few seconds. Most garages typically carry out around six MOT tests each day.

The system also checks the tester and garage are authorised to test that class of vehicle and that the calibration of the test equipment is up-to-date.

Photo credit: Siemens Business Services

40148667-5-mot5.jpg
5 of 5 Andy McCue/ZDNET

Once a vehicle has been tested using the new MOT system, the owner will no longer need to take their MOT certificate to the Post Office when re-licensing their vehicle. Instead when the owner applies for Road Tax, the Post Office will automatically check the database to confirm the vehicle has a current MOT.

The MOT computerisation project is the final part of the electronic vehicle licensing initiative that allows the authorities to check a vehicle is registered with the DVLA, and has valid insurance and a current MOT through links with the Association of British Insurers and DVLA systems.

The free online public enquiry service also allows people to check the MOT status and history of a vehicle, including mileage, which will provide protection against buying 'clocked' cars where the mileage has been tampered with.

Vosa hopes to extend the system in future to include 'virtual MOTs' where motorists will be able to go online to check for the most common reasons for MOT failures on their make of vehicle and to locate an authorised garage or testing station and make a booking.

Photo credit: Siemens Business Services

Related Galleries

Holiday wallpaper for your phone: Christmas, Hanukkah, New Year's, and winter scenes
Holiday lights in Central Park background

Related Galleries

Holiday wallpaper for your phone: Christmas, Hanukkah, New Year's, and winter scenes

21 Photos
Winter backgrounds for your next virtual meeting
Wooden lodge in pine forest with heavy snow reflection on Lake O'hara at Yoho national park

Related Galleries

Winter backgrounds for your next virtual meeting

21 Photos
Holiday backgrounds for Zoom: Christmas cheer, New Year's Eve, Hanukkah and winter scenes
3D Rendering Christmas interior

Related Galleries

Holiday backgrounds for Zoom: Christmas cheer, New Year's Eve, Hanukkah and winter scenes

21 Photos
Hyundai Ioniq 5 and Kia EV6: Electric vehicle extravaganza
img-8825

Related Galleries

Hyundai Ioniq 5 and Kia EV6: Electric vehicle extravaganza

26 Photos
A weekend with Google's Chrome OS Flex
img-9792-2

Related Galleries

A weekend with Google's Chrome OS Flex

22 Photos
Cybersecurity flaws, customer experiences, smartphone losses, and more: ZDNet's research roundup
shutterstock-1024665187.jpg

Related Galleries

Cybersecurity flaws, customer experiences, smartphone losses, and more: ZDNet's research roundup

8 Photos
Inside a fake $20 '16TB external M.2 SSD'
Full of promises!

Related Galleries

Inside a fake $20 '16TB external M.2 SSD'

8 Photos