As dealerships plan a gradual return following the lockdown, we 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.

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

NFDA regularly sits on the Used Cars and First User Registration Committee and, last week, we approached the DVLA for formal clarification on the issue of unaccompanied test drives, without the presence of a dealership’s staff member.

On Tuesday afternoon we heard back from DVLA and following our communications to members, we are now pleased to confirm that the trade licensing policy has been reviewed in the light of the COVID-19 pandemic. The DVLA has confirmed that test drives on trade plated vehicles may be carried out unaccompanied.

However, DVLA stipulates that trade plates are property of the Secretary of State and car dealerships should take all precautions to ensure that trade plates are not stolen by offering them to known and trusted customers, and, where this is not the case, dealers should obtain some form of security from the prospective customer.

We advise dealers to contact their insurance company and inform them of this revised DVLA policy and ensure that vehicles are still covered on the insurance policy during an unaccompanied test drive.

NFDA’s excellent working relationship with DVLA continues to be instrumental in providing clear dealer feedback and, in turn, best represent the interests of the retail motor industry. We will continue to work closely with DVLA and relevant Government departments to support dealers throughout these challenging times.