More classic bikes to be MOT exempt

The Government is to proceed with plans to exempt vehicles constructed, or first registered, more than 40 years ago from MOT testing – despite 56% of respondents to a consultation opposing the idea.

Announcing the move last week (14 Sept), Jesse Norman, road safety minister said the move will ensure a ‘proportionate approach to testing for older vehicles, which works for public safety and vehicle owners’.

At present, only cars built before 1960 are exempt from the roadworthiness check – estimated to be around 197,000 vehicles.

The DfT says by implementing the new measure, an estimated additional 293,000 vehicles (1% of the total fleet) will not require an annual MOT, taking the total to approaching half a million vehicles.

The consultation asked whether respondents supported the Government’s proposal. While 899 respondents expressed support, 1,130 were opposed –  the main argument being that all vehicles travelling on the highway should have an annual test for safety reasons.

The DfT says it took into consideration a number of factors before arriving at its decision, including:

  • Cars of this age are usually maintained in good condition
  • They are used on few occasions, usually on short trips, and requiring a full MOT is unreasonable
  • The modern MOT is no longer relevant to cars over 40 years old, and/or garages can not test them adequately
  • The move will harmonise the MOT exemption date with the date for Vehicle Excise Duty

The DfT says that vehicles that have been ‘substantially changed’, regardless of their age, will not be exempt from annual roadworthiness testing.

Jesse Norman, road safety minister, said: “After considering the responses, we have decided to exempt most vehicles over 40 years-old from the requirement for annual roadworthiness testing.

“This means lighter vehicles (such as cars and motorcycles) and larger vehicles such as buses which are not used commercially.

“Heavy goods vehicles and public service vehicles falling under operator licensing regulations will remain within the scope of roadworthiness testing.

“This will ensure a proportionate approach to testing for older vehicles, which works for public safety and vehicle owners.”

The Government has also published its response to a consultation into exemptions from annual testing for some specialised heavy vehicles.

Whereas the current regulations contain a number of exemptions from the requirement for annual testing for certain vehicle types, following the consultation the Government looks set to introduce mandatory roadworthiness testing for all specialised heavy vehicles ‘where this is practical and proportionate’.

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