Unaccompanied Test Drives on Trade Plates

Car Sales

As the Government lockdown eases up on the motor trade, and re-openings are expected in the next couple of weeks, you’re probably keeping up to date with all the latest tips and advice on how to safely reopen and what to do to continue complying with social distancing rules between customers and staff.

This seems an easily achievable in the showroom and on the forecourt as space isn’t the issue here. But how does this work when a customer would like to test drive one of your vehicles? 

Trade Plate Test Drives

Right now the DVLA’s guidelines on test drives using trade plates contradict the Government’s guidelines on social distancing. Having been challenged on how this would affect dealerships as they re-open, the DVLA have reconsidered their position and have just announced a relaxing in the rules on trade plate usage.

Until now you would always go out with your customer whilst they took a test drive in an unregistered or untaxed vehicle under trade plates. Now, if you are comfortable doing so, you can let your customer take the vehicle unaccompanied. However, please check with your usual A&T contact to make sure your insurance does not need amending for this enhance risk. 

You do need to remain vigilant though if you wish to take advantage of this change. You should take all precautions to ensure that trade plates are not stolen by offering them to familiar and trusted customers, and with unknown prospective customers, you should obtain some form of security from them such as the keys to their own vehicle or a form of identification such as their driving licence that they can have back on safe return of your vehicle.

This change in the rules will hopefully positively benefit your business as you work towards settling into the new normal and will support increased sales.

We want to help you how we can and you'll find some great resources on the A&T Risk Management portal that you currently have free access to. We also have some suggestions here to get your showroom back up and running in a Covid-19 friendly way!

Tips for Motor Traders

  • Frequent cleaning of equipment, door handles, fuel pumps and vehicle keys
  • Cleaning vehicles after they have been operated by different drivers
  • Encourage workers to wash hands before using vehicles
  • Provide your employees with adequate supplies of hand sanitiser or wipes within vehicles to enable workers to clean hands
  • When allowing your staff to use company demonstrators, aim to allocate a vehicle to a specific driver if the size of your fleet allows this
  • With an open showroom, use clear signage and perhaps mark out a one-way system so customers don’t cross each other whilst browsing
  • Consider a front of house representative outside in the forecourt who can assess the needs of the customer upfront and direct them within the showroom


One very popular tool amongst our Motor Trade clients is the Vehicle Dealer Safety Manual. Click on the link to download our template for use within your business. 

If you have any questions about the A&T Risk Management Service or if you would like help with a specific resource, don't hesitate to get in contact with us. We also highly recommend speaking to your usual contact here at Alan & Thomas to ensure you have the correct covers in place to allow for using trade plates for unaccompanied test drives. 

Want to speak to a member of our Motor Trade team?

Our motor trade team are on hand if you wish to talk about your insurance or anything regarding the risk management tools we can make available to you.