MoTs for pre-’60s classics could be binned

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It’s not often that we get good vibes from Whitehall, but there was welcome news on the MoT front yesterday when the Government kicked off a consultation over whether to scrap MoT tests for pre-1960 classics.

The move comes thanks to a ruling in Brussels: the Department of Transport initiated the notion to exempt vehicles of historic interest (which it deems as being manufactured prior to 1 January 1960) in Great Britain from annual Ministry of Transport test under Article 4(2) of European Union Directive 2009/40/EC.

The move has been welcomed by Greg Knight (below), chair of the All Party Parliamentary Historic Vehicles Group: “Accidents involving historic vehicles are extremely rare. Having to have an annual MoT test for a vehicle that may only travel 500 miles in a year is an unnecessary bureaucratic hurdle”.

Knight believes that the proposed exemption will reduce the regulatory burden on owners of historic vehicles and said: “It will also bring the age of vehicles requiring the statutory MoT test in line with The Goods Vehicles (Plating and Testing) Regulations 1988, which already exempts unladen pre-’1960-manufactured Heavy Goods Vehicles.

“While pre-1960 licensed vehicles made up about 0.6% of the approximately 35.2m licensed vehicles in the country in 2010, they were involved in just 0.03% of road casualties and accidents. Pre-1960 licensed vehicles are largely well-maintained by their owners. The initial MoT test failure rate for these vehicles in 2009 was less than 10%, while the initial MoT test failure rate for post-1960 licensed vehicles was over 30%.” 

But owners of pre-’60 classics won’t be entirely off the hook because they will still be legally required to ensure that their classic cars are safe, roadworthy and in a proper condition to be on the road.

Knight added: “Maintaining a vehicle over 50 years old is all about maintaining our heritage – not cheap motoring. The vast majority of owners are meticulous in keeping their vehicles in an excellent condition, even to higher standards than that required by MOT testers.”

As part of the consultation, the government is seeking views on whether the date for exemption should be set earlier, with pre-1920 and pre-1945 also options.

See the full Government document here.

Tell us what you think of the proposal on our forum.

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