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Changes to MOT test exemptions
Savings for the oldies
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The government is bringing in changes to MOT legislation which will make vehicles aged 40 years and older exempt from the annual test. This decision follows a public consultation which ran during the autumn last year.

Currently, vehicles registered before 1960 are exempt from “roadworthiness testing”, or MOT testing, as you and I know it. This amounts to around 197,000 vehicles. Once the new legislation has taken effect, this figure will include an extra 293,000 vehicles (an estimated 1% of the total fleet).  

The case for change

Those in favour of the exemption argue that vehicles of this age are usually maintained in a good condition anyway. This irrelevant of the required testing. Referred to as 'vehicles of historical interest', for the most part, they're used on rare occasions and for short trips. Neither of which are reasonable amounts to warrant a MOT test.  

Added to this, is the argument that the current modern MOT test is no longer relevant to vehicles aged 40 years or older anyway. And that these changes would bring the MOT exemption date in line with the date for Vehicle Excise Duty (road tax), which is also 40+ years.

In opposition

Yet the exemption won't be welcomed by all. Some argue that since any vehicle can cause a fatal accident, all should be liable to MOT testing. This includes, even, pre-1960 machines which are already exempt. This, they claim, is particularity imperative for older machines. Constructed to different standards than modern vehicles, they could be less robust.

A balanced approach

However controversial it may appear to some, one could view this as the government taking a more balanced approach to the changes. The public consultation followed the proposed EU legislation to amend the MOT exemption date to vehicles of 30 years and up. A legislation which would have been the likely outcome in the UK had it not voted to leave the European Union last summer.  

This option was open to debate in the government's consultation. But it concluded that the higher power in vehicles aged between 30-40 than those aged 40+ can lead to faster driving and more accidents. This was backed up by statistics.

No break for commercials

The new legislation, which is due to come into force on 20th May 2018, will affect most, but not all, vehicles aged 40 years and over. Lighter vehicles, such as cars and motorcycles, and larger vehicles, such as buses, which are not commercially used, will all be exempt. Heavy goods vehicles and those used for public services will still need to be tested.  

Under an 8-point rule currently used by the DVLA, vehicles which have been heavily modified will also need to be tested.

The changes were announced by the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Roads, Local Transport and Devolution, Jesse Norman. They can be read in full on www.gov.uk.


Last Edited: 2017 September 29

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