Garage prosecuted for illegal modifications 

A garage in Wakefield has been prosecuted by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) for openly advertising and fitting illegal modifications.

AET Motorsport Limited was convicted at Kirklees Magistrates’ Court in November for providing a ‘Pop and Bang Remap Software Upgrade’ for a customer’s vehicle that was likely to be used on the road. The case is the first of its kind, and comes as the DVSA clamps down on illegal modifications.

This case involved a company removing the catalytic converter (CAT) and making software alterations to increase the vehicle’s noise output.  

Doing this means the exhaust makes a ‘pop and bang’ noise when the vehicle is being driven. 

Removing the CAT and replacing it with an exhaust catalytic converter delete pipe meant the vehicle could not be legally driven on the road and it would not pass an MOT emissions test unless the catalytic convertor was refitted.

While using a vehicle with an exhaust system modified in this way on a public road constitutes illegal modifications, the DVSA found that AET Motorsport was openly advertising this service.

Mystery shopping for illegal modifications

The DVSA booked a test car in with AET Motorsport Ltd to see if they would provide the advertised service. At no point did the company warn their customer that the vehicle could not be driven legally on the road following the modifications and that it would no longer pass an MOT emissions test.  

The vehicle was analysed for noise levels at a government testing facility, before the work was carried out and after the illegal modifications were fitted, to determine if the work had increased the noise levels. The second test revealed that the work carried out by the company had directly caused an increase in noise emissions from the vehicle that went beyond those specified by the law.

Therefore, the DVSA successfully prosecuted AET Motorsport Ltd under regulation 54 of the Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations 1986, Section 76 of the Road Traffic Act 1988 and Schedule 2 to the Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988

Fine for AET Motorsport

In passing sentence, the presiding magistrate remarked that the prosecution was rightly brought by the DVSA and served as a lesson learned for the company that any business owner has an obligation to know what the law is regarding illegal modifications.

The company was awarded credit of one third for pleading guilty to the offence and ordered to pay a total of £7,234 by way of fine, victim surcharge and costs.

“The DVSA’s Market Surveillance Unit ensures vehicles, vehicle parts and vehicle accessories sold in the UK meet required specifications and are safe for people to buy,” commented Christopher Dormand, DVSA’s Head of the Market Surveillance Unit. 

“It is illegal to drive a vehicle on the road after the exhaust system has been altered to increase noise levels or adversely affect the emissions. These modifications are anti-social, can damage public health and result in an MOT failure. 

“This investigation shows DVSA takes this activity seriously and we will continue to take strong action on offenders.” 

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