Introduction of new MOT standards is a reminder that a damaged windscreen could fail a vehicle’s test

UK motorists face stricter standards when taking their vehicle for an MOT following a review of the testing procedures by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA).

National Windscreens has reminded motorists that while the newly introduced regulations do not include changes to existing windscreen checks, many could still be caught out and have their MOT failed as a result of damage or impaired vision to a vehicle’s glazing.

All test standards will now be judged against new minor, major and dangerous defect categories, in addition to advisories. Major and dangerous defects will result in a vehicle automatically failing its MOT. This includes damage to a windscreen or front side windows.

In some cases, a damaged windscreen can also be deemed illegal and cause an offence when a vehicle is being driven, with a driver facing a fixed penalty of three penalty points on their licence and a fine.

“The new DVSA MOT procedures are targeting mainly the emissions from diesel vehicles but that does not detract from the existing checks on visibility that many motorists can often be unaware of,” said Alistair Carlton, technical manager at National Windscreens.

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A windscreen is divided into four zones for the purposes of deciding what size of glass damage can be repaired. The size of damage that can be repaired varies for each zone. Find out more here

“An MOT tester will be checking for any damage that impairs the vision of the driver or where items such as satnavs and even window stickers are affecting visibility. They will now be basing their checks against the new, stricter categories.”

A vehicle will be failed in its MOT if there is damage anywhere on a windscreen exceeding 40 mm in size. However, if there is damage of just 10 mm in an area known as Zone A, it will also be classed as a major and failed.

“Zone A is a critical part of a vehicle’s windscreen. It is the area directly in front of the driver. It is an area of 290 mm diameter on the windscreen, measured from the centre of the steering wheel,” said Alistair.

“If damage is caused outside this area, in what is called Zone B, then it will only fail the MOT if the damage is more than 40 mm.”

Zone B is the area of the windscreen covered by a windscreen wiper on the passenger side of the vehicle.

If such damage is deemed a major, the vehicle will fail its MOT and will have to be repaired with another test then required.

“Basically, it’s in the interest of the vehicle owner to have any damage repaired or the windscreen replaced before the MOT test as otherwise you will end up paying for two MOTs. It is also worth noting that the first failure will be recorded on the vehicle’s MOT history,” said Alistair.

“Aside from the MOT, any damage to a windscreen should be checked straight away. Damage can cause problems for the vision of a driver, particularly with glare and dazzling caused by sunlight or other vehicle headlights when driving at night. The windscreen is also an important part of a vehicles structural integrity so damage should always be rectified as soon as possible.”

The new MOT standards and categories came into force on 20 May 2018.