Personal Injury, Serious Injury & Clinical Negligence

MOT Testing abolished for classic and vintage vehicles

MOT scrapped for classic and vintage vehicles – Sensible or suspicious?

As from 18 November 2012 any vehicle licensed for the road prior to 1960 will be exempt from undergoing the annual MOT road worthiness test.

Why has this step been taken?

Anybody who runs a vintage car or motorcycle on the road will be aware that the current MOT test sometimes appears to have little relevance.

The current test is aimed at establishing road worthiness on modern vehicles and the standards set accordingly.

Advancements in brakes, lights suspension and car construction generally leave even the most pristine and well maintained classic failing to meet that standard.

MOT testers then have to apply a degree of discretion according to the age of the vehicle being tested.

Is this such a problem?

Pre 1960 vehicles make up only 0.6% of total numbers on the road and only 0.03% of road casualties and road traffic accidents (statistics courtesy of the Motorcycle Action Group).

Although I drive a modern car one of my hobbies is restoring and riding old motorcycles – mostly from the 1930’s and ‘40’s.

Whilst I recognise that the current MOT test is not perfect when applied to the old bikes I do welcome the annual inspection by an independent eye.

Whilst the bikes I ride were rebuilt from the ground up and I know them as well as anybody, Andy my local inspector, still finds things that need attention from time to time. A loose spoke here or a bearing that needs tightening there etc etc.

I am pleased therefore that I will still be able to have the bikes undergo an MOT type test on a voluntary basis.

Further if I was ever unfortunate enough to have an accident on one of the old bikes it would give the insurers, both my own and any potential third party insurer, less wriggle room to avoid paying out on the basis that the bike was somehow ‘not roadworthy’. It would be grossly naïve to think they would not try given the opportunity.

When this change was first announced there was concern in some quarters that it marked the start of a campaign to remove old vehicles from the road altogether.

There is not obvious sign that this is the case but it may form part of the much wider European Commission proposal for a ‘super MOT’ scheduled for introduction in 2015.

The small print within those proposals may have far reaching effect with its threat to machine modification and the possibility that older machines will require more regular and more expensive testing.

It may seem ironic that the UK has scrapped the MOT test for older vehicles simple to allow potentially more draconian European legislation to replace it.

Part of the current EU proposal does seem to exempt vehicles more than 30 years old but whether that clause will remain or indeed whether the ‘super’ test will ever be introduced is questionable.

It may seem a Machiavellian step too far to think this is all part of a master plan to remove old vehicles from the road – but that does not mean it won’t happen.

Do I remain suspicious – absolutely.

For more information, please contact Martin Pettingell