As dealerships plan a gradual return following the lockdown, we still anticipate we will be required to operate the 2-metre social distancing between customers and staff. While this can be organised and controlled in showrooms and workshops, it cannot be arranged on test drives.

Therefore, dealers need to know if they can carry out unaccompanied test drives on unregistered new cars or untaxed used cars, using trade plates.

While the DVLA trade plate guidance (download below) gives information on the permitted uses of trade plates, it does not refer to the issue of test drives where customers would be unaccompanied by a dealership’s employees.

The NFDA has approached the DVLA for formal clarification and we have been advised by its policy department that it is their view that a representative of the trade plate user/dealership should be in attendance while a test drive on trade-plates is carried out.

We have therefore pointed out to the DVLA that this conflicts with the current COVID-19 Government legislation on social distancing and will most likely conflict with future advice as businesses starts to re-open.

The DVLA advised us on the 20th of April that they will review their policy on this issue. We will await the DVLA’s response and advise members accordingly.

Download DVLA’s Trade Licence Plates Leaflet