Imagine it. You’re come home from work or a nice day out and there on the mat is a brown envelope. It could be from the taxman or some bill but it’s from the police instead; it might be from your local force or it could be from another one which sounds vaguely familiar from a trip somewhere recently.
Car manufacturers are increasingly offering drivers more and more high tech conveniences in new vehicles. Touch screens have firmly taken up residence in new cars, and so has Bluetooth; the impact of smart phone technology upon the motor industry simply cannot be underestimated. Who would have thought that Bluetooth would also be put to fraudulent use in a driving context but it has been and that is giving the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency [DVSA] serious cause for concern.
Almost unbelievably new prospective drivers are using Bluetooth technology to cheat in driving theory tests. Things are getting so bad in some test centres that the DVSA is to install CCTV cameras in test centres in a bid to catch offenders after a 50% rise in suspected cases of fraud in the past year. How do the cheaters do it, you may ask? It seems they typically use a miniature ear piece which is linked via Bluetooth to a concealed mobile phone which, in turn, is connected to a third party sat somewhere outside the test centre who’s either extremely knowledgeable about the Highway Code or has ready access to a copy with all the answers in.
Invigilators at test centres are becoming adept at spotting these cheats and one can well understand why. There must be a degree of odd behaviour by the cheats which sets them apart from honest candidates and maybe some mumbling the questions in order that the co-conspirator can hear what’s needed for the answers. One individual from Sheffield was recently sentenced to four months in jail for fraud after having a Bluetooth-enabled mobile phone stuffed in his sock during a theory test.
The problem is growing and from a figure of 308 frauds in 2015 the numbers in the past year have climbed to 467 cases.
Of course the theory test is but one part of the overall driving test but all drivers should be concerned that there are increasing numbers prepared to go to any lengths to get that driving licence by fair means or foul.
And the cheats? Well if they’re caught, like a Zaid Sultan from Sheffield, then it is more than likely that the only road they will be taking will be the one leading them direct to prison.
Raising the standard of MOT testing to improve road safety
Plans have been revealed to improve road safety and give road users a better service when they take their vehicle for its MOT.
The DVSA (Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency) is introducing:
~A qualification for new MOT testers and managers (industry-recognised)
~And annual training and assessments for the existing 58,000 MOT testers
Carrying out MOTs to the right standard
Every year in Great Britain, around 27 million car MOTs are carried out.
While the vast majority are done to the right standard, DVSA have admitted that data shows some errors are made during the testing process. This is where the new qualification and training process will come in to place, to help reduce these errors.
As of September 2016, new MOT testers will need a nationally-recognised qualification.
To be eligible for the qualification, they’ll already need to have:
~A technical qualification (For example, a Vehicle Technician, Vehicle Maintenance and Repair NVQ)
~At least 4 years of experience in the motor trade
They’ll then need to:
~successfully complete an MOT tester qualification course
~pass an MOT demonstration test with a DVSA examiner
The new qualification offers more people the opportunity to develop their skills and enter a career in MOT testing, which in turn will help to boost the industry.
Annual training and assessments
MOT testers will also have to take training and pass an assessment every year to continue carrying out MOTs.
The training will focus on topics which DVSA data shows testers are most likely to get wrong.
It means that drivers can be more confident that their MOT result is right, and that any vehicle faults are correctly identified. This helps protect everyone from unsafe vehicles.
Transport Minister, Lord Ahmad, said:
“MOT testers do an excellent and essential job ensuring that vehicles are fit to be driven on our roads.”
“We want all workers to be proud of their profession and drivers to be sure they are getting the right test result. We are introducing this new qualification and training and assessment regime to further boost the reputation of the profession.”
DVSA’s Chief Executive, Gareth Llewellyn, added:
“Checking your vehicle is safe to drive is one of our top priorities. Ensuring the quality of MOT testing will ensure customers can be confident their vehicle will be tested in a highly professional manner.”
“The new qualification as well as the annual training and assessment will continue to build on the professional reputation of the MOT industry. It will help DVSA to regularly assess the standard of the industry and quickly address any problems that arise.”
“By achieving this new qualification, garages or testers will enable their businesses to flourish, but where standards are not being met, DVSA has an obligation to protect the public by withdrawing authority to carry out MOT testing.”
Retail Motor Industry Federation (RMI) Director, Stuart James, said:
“The new qualification is something that technicians can genuinely be proud of and knowing that the assessment standards are so very high, this can only enhance the UK’s excellent road safety record.”
Click here to check the MOT history of your vehicle