MoT Exemption

MoT exemption – an accident waiting to happen or preserving historic interest?

The Department for Transport are seeking your views on roadworthiness testing for vehicles of historic interest. The Government will be looking at the possibility of MoT exemption for all vehicles over 30 years old.  Heritage discuss whether it’s a wise move or a risky discussion?

In November 2012, cars built before  1960 become exempt from the standard MoT test. This meant anyone driving a car made before 1960 were no longer subject to safety regulations. It was all down to the driver themselves.

The problem with MoT exemption is that road safety is down to the drivers own discretion. Most owners see the upkeep and safety of their classic car as a priority. With MoT exemption, it’s an even bigger responsibility, the buck stops with you. If your 40 year old brakes were to fail  the consequences could be fatal. This is why it is so important to have regulations in place. So that when driving on a public road you adhere to certain safety standards set by a governing body.

Regardless of age, we’d want to be aware of any problem with our classic that we might have missed ourselves.

As the MoT is currently the only legal safety standard for cars. With no other enforcement in place why should any car be exempt from this?

Classic cars are usually not the main vehicle in your household. Usually driven for pleasure, with limited mileage. But, the safety is still just as important as that of your daily driver.

We do agree that the MoT needs updating or rather, adapting. Perhaps the law should be based on the annual mileage and not the age of the car? Road safety requirements do not become irrelevant as your vehicle ages.

There is no doubt most people are in favour of a review. In our view, exemption is not the only answer. Leaving safety down to each individual owners’ interpretation. Allowing owners to set their own safety standards, which could differ from one enthusiast to another.

We’ve taken a look at the Governments’ ‘Historic Vehicles MoT Exemption Review’. It ‘s an in depth review about vehicles of ‘Historic Interest’, and regulations that should in place to ensure vehicle safety on our roads.

The review seems to be part of the Governments’ new agenda to ‘cut out the paperwork’ and reduce red tape. This of course sounds like a good thing.

The best place to do this, may not be with our road safety. We do need some law and order.

The review was back in late 2011, when the law was then passed in 2012 to make all cars built before 1960 MoT exempt.

This brings us to the present day, when we could see new EU rules applied. The cut off point would be a rolling 30 years. Unless the vehicle has undergone a ‘substantial change’ from when it was manufactured. So cars from the mid eighties will join the category for vehicles of Historic Interest. Cars can be driven along, hopefully safely, but with no proof of road worthiness. Cars from this era are capable of the same speeds as modern cars produced today, with few safety features. This could prove a costly mistake, for the sake of an MoT test to ensure peoples’ safety.

Mark Wilkinson, Managing Partner of Heritage Car Insurance gave his views on the potential MoT exemption:

‘Claims data for pre-1960 cars has not changed since their exemption and there won’t be much impact for the insurance industry if this legislation is passed. Regular inspections would be a wise move. The majority of classic car owners already maintain their cars to a minimum of MoT standard.’

What are your thoughts on the potential MoT exemption? 

The Department for Transport and consulting on the possibility of 30 year rolling MoT exemption. Have your say on the potential changes, you’ll have until Wednesday 2nd November 2016 to give your opinion on the matter. Visit the website to respond here.


The consulation is now closed, we’ll keep you updated on the results.


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