Specialist Vehicle - road legal? Hmmm...

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crinklystarfish
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Specialist Vehicle - road legal? Hmmm...

Postby crinklystarfish » Sun May 27, 2018 7:53 am

There are a few ways that trucks and other large vehicles can be legally registered and used whilst benefitting from exemptions from the need to be tested, have normally-required equipment fitted, pay road tax etc. There are also circumstances in which trucks of any size can quite legally be driven on a car licence and others where they can run on red diesel.

All this stuff is perfectly legal.

But, it’s recently come to light on a facebook group that there are few trucks out there on the leisure scene (rather than commercial or charitable) that have been registered by the owners declaring a particular type of 'specialist vehicle' status.

Now, that’s perfectly fine PROVIDING the vehicle actually IS a specialist vehicle.

If it isn't, and the person is applying for registration and its associated exemptions as a matter of expediency in order to sidestep the requirements for plating / testing / passing an LGV test etc, then there could be legal and / or insurance invalidation problems. For one thing, it’s a criminal offence to make a false declaration when applying to DVLA for registration and this is made perfectly clear on the V55 forms.

If people want to fiddle systems that's up to them - as long as they don't crash into me or affect innocent people in any way; then good luck to them. I am no fan of the idiotic establishment.

BUT, it’s become very clear that some of the people claiming the status have just latched on to a half-understood fiddle and don't really understand the full legal / insurance implications of which exemptions apply to them, how they apply, and the implications of change of ownership.

Just one example is one truck on eBay at the moment advertised as a camper just needing fitting out that may or may not - I really don’t know - be a legitimate ‘specialist vehicle’ .

Whether it’s a genuine or spoof specialist vehicle doesn’t really matter BUT this vehicle - though currently exempt from test - does NOT currently comply with construction and use regulations. From casual observations it needs sideguards (it is still a goods vehicle at the moment) and rear mudguards. Of course, if this truck had been submitted for test, these issues - and any others - would have been pointed out at the DVSA 'initial test of a goods vehicle'.

Also if anyone were to buy this today with the intention of finishing off the fit-out and using it as an overlander (rather than the ‘specialist vehicle’ it is currently declared to be) then it would almost certainly need a goods vehicle test BEFORE it turns a wheel on the public road. The exemptions that currently apply to it almost certainly WILL NOT pass to the new owner in the event that the new owner intends to use it as a conventional motorcaravan.

Think of it as analogous to buying a Unimog registered as an agricultural tractor with no tax, no test and running red diesel. Once you buy that with the intention of making it into a camper it is no longer an agricultural tractor and if you get caught gadding about in it on your way to pick up a fridge and some Vohringer board you’ll have some explaining to do: because you're now sitting in a plain old goods vehicle cab looking down at the quizical police officer. Good luck with your insurance company, too.

Further, as the truck in the ad has never been tested to this point and is shown as a ‘specialist vehicle’ no DVSA test station SHOULD grant a class 4 test UNTIL DVLA have agreed that it is a motorcaravan and have documented this on the V5. Now, here’s the spiral: it needs a test on it before DVLA will change body type so the new owner MAY find themselves in a catch 22 and may even be forced down the IVA route.

The moral - if anyone is buying a ‘specialist vehicle’ (real of fake) TAKE GREAT CARE. The vehicle may or may not be roadworthy or comply with construction and use legislation. If you drive away intending to use it as a camper you’ll probably need a test on it and it MAY turn out to be tricky to get body type changed.
Last edited by crinklystarfish on Sun May 27, 2018 11:51 am, edited 4 times in total.

DaveS
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Re: Road legal? Hmmm...

Postby DaveS » Sun May 27, 2018 8:36 am

Really helpful summary - thanks for taking the time to write it up.

crinklystarfish
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Re: Specialist Vehicle - road legal? Hmmm...

Postby crinklystarfish » Thu Sep 13, 2018 2:00 pm

The 'specialist vehicle' scam is seemingly becoming increasingly prevalent so here's a bit more info:

The term Specialist Vehicle is simply a generic one and describes a whole range of different types of vehicle such as road rollers, agricultural tractors, track-laying vehicles (ie tanks etc), mowing machines, mobile exhibition or education vehicles (ie libraries etc), works trucks and other odds and sods.

So, a road roller is a type of specialist vehicle, a tank is a type of specialist vehicle; an agricultural tractor is a type of specialist vehicle and so on and so forth.

A motor caravan is NOT a type of specialist vehicle.

However, it’s becoming an increasingly popular thing to do to CLAIM that a potential base vehicle or indeed a fully converted motor caravan is being used as a type of vehicle that falls into one or other of the types of vehicle that are afforded ‘specialist vehicle’ status.

In doing this, owners think they are being clever and availing themselves of various benefits afforded to genuine specialist vehicles such as an exemption from MoT, no need to hold an LGV driving licence, the ability to run on red diesel etc, etc.

What they perhaps don’t understand, or perhaps don’t care about… or perhaps a combination of these things; is that by claiming your vehicle is something that it is in fact not you will invariably:

1. Have had to make a false declaration to DVLA in order to register it (a criminal offence)
2. Not be sticking to the strict requirements that govern the use of such vehicles (for eg you can only drive certain types of vehicle a VERY limited number of miles from base)
3. Be in breach of any number of pieces of construction and use and driving licence legislation.

If you are one of the people that have FRAUDULENTLY registered your vehicle, the actual laws you’ve broken will vary depending on your own particular suite of lies, the vehicle involved, and the use to which it’s being put. Also, it goes without saying that the insurance you effectively obtained by false declaration is not worth the paper it’s written on.

So, potential buyers - if someone is selling what looks very much like a normal lorry, van or motorcaravan but claims it has #specialistvehicle status; and so doesn’t need an MoT or can be run on Red, or you can drive it on a moped licence, ask them EXACTLY what kind of specialist vehicle type it supposedly is and what they had to declare to DVLA to get them to register it as such.

A simple test: If the proposed seller is legitimate they will understand your concern and they will have absolutely no qualms about putting a goods vehicle test (or a Class 4 test) on it AND getting DVLA to change the body type to Rigid Goods or Motorcaravan for you BEFORE you purchase. If they have nothing to hide, they can VERY EASILY do this for you - you could even offer to pay for the MoT and the stamp for their V5C to be sent to Swansea.

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Brian-reynolds
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Re: Specialist Vehicle - road legal? Hmmm...

Postby Brian-reynolds » Fri Sep 14, 2018 10:13 am

Excellent information Steve, very well written!

For those that do not know, Steve was banned from the FaceBook forum because he quoted the law, and gave the references as to where the law is stated, which certain members did not like, so they banned him!

There are still members asking for Steve to return, but he does not wish to, and I wholeheartedly agree with him!

Further to this, I still think there are some more vehicles following the same route, but as I would not let the ban on Steve rest until everyone knew about it, I also have to be careful as to what I say... year right.....

I actually feel that some of the owners are the innocent parties and that they have been misled, but that will not help when they do get stopped!

Thanks again Steve for the time it must have taken you to compile this post, very well received.

B.

DaveS
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Re: Specialist Vehicle - road legal? Hmmm...

Postby DaveS » Fri Sep 14, 2018 1:53 pm

Aye - much appreciated Steve - as someone currently in the market for a vehicle and the added complexity of re-registering any purchase back here in the IOM (which is a minefield in itself) I'm approaching this whole subject with extreme caution. Your advice is well received.


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