Advice

Accompanied car test drives are back on after social distancing rules relaxed

Time 10 months ago

Accompanied car test drives are back on the table after government advice and social distancing rules changed.

Car dealers can now go back to offering accompanied test drives as they did before – alleviating the issues many have had with insurers refusing to let customers out on their own.

Rules were changed when social distancing regulations were stricter to allow customers to take test drives on their own using car dealers’ trade plates.

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But now motor trade legal firm Lawgisitcs says that car dealers can follow the same guidelines issued to driving instructors and examiners who went back to work on July 4.

Lawgistics solicitor Nona Bowkis said: ‘Since lockdown, customers and dealerships have had to get used to unaccompanied test drives.  

‘While some have found this a positive with many customers preferring to be able to go out in the car without the sales talk, others have decided it was too much of a risk, especially in those cases where they could not obtain the appropriate insurance cover.

‘However, with driving instructors being allowed back to work from July 4, this pretty much gives the green light for accompanied test drives using the same guidelines issued to them.’

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Lawgistics says car dealers will need to adjust their Covid-19 risk assessments accordingly and adhere to the following guidelines:

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  • Refusing a test drive if the customer appears unwell
  • Customer and salesperson should use hand sanitiser before and after getting into the car
  • Face coverings should be made available should either the customer or salesperson prefer to wear one (driving instructors have the choice, driving examiners must wear them)
  • Limit the number of people on the test drive to customer and salesperson only
  • Single use disposable gloves available – optional to wear them
  • Disposable seat coverings can be used but must be removed after each use
  • Wipe down cars with anti-bacterial wipes or spray after each test drive on key touch points 
  • Keep windows down as much as possible to allow ventilation
  • Avoiding using the air con if possible especially if it is on recirculate
  • PPE waste stored in disposal rubbish bags and then put in another bag which is tied securely and set aside for 72 hours before being put with the usual waste

Lawgistics says that particular cleaning measures after the test drive should focus on door handles inside and out, windows and mirror controls, seat adjusters and head restraints, seatbelt and its connection, gear lever, steering wheel, indicator and wiper stalks and the car keys. 

Bowkis added: ‘As a final note, dealers should revisit their privacy policy to ensure they have included the fact that a test driver’s details, and in fact all customers’ details, may be passed on to the NHS Track and Trace service if it becomes necessary.

‘And as usual, they should keep their details for up to six months so they can be supplied to any authority in regard to any fines and penalties.’

James Baggott

James is the founder and editor-in-chief of Car Dealer Magazine, and CEO of parent company Baize Group. James has been a motoring journalist for more than 20 years writing about cars and the car industry.

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