Introduced in 1960 under instruction from the Ministry Of Transport, utilising powers gained through the Road Traffic Act 1956. The aim was to create a basic test to include brakes, lights and steering to be carried out after a vehicle was ten years old and every year thereafter.
This became known as the Ministry of Trasport Test. The high failure rate resulted in a reduction of vehicle age down to 7 years old on December 31st 1961.
In 1962, the first commercial vehicle exam was created and a valid certficiate was required in order to receive a tax disc. In 1967, the testable age of a vehicle was reduced again to 3 years.
The list of items tested has been continually expanded over the years, including in 1968 – a tyre check; 1977 – checks of windscreen wipers and washers, direction indicators, brakelights, horns, exhaust system and condition of the body structure and chassis; 1991 – checks of the emissions test for petrol engine vehicles, together with checks on the anti-lock braking system, rear wheel bearings, rear wheel steering (where appropriate) and rear seat belts; 1992 – a stricter tyre tread depth requirement for most vehicles; 1994 – a check of emissions for diesel engine vehicles; 2005 – introduction of a computerised administration system for issuing non-secure test certificates. Also rolled out in 2005 was the creation of the ‘Automated Test Bay’ this differs from traditional testing by adding additional equipment to the bay to negate the use of an assistant during the test; 2012 – checks of secondary restraint systems, battery and wiring, ESC, speedometers and steering locks