May 9th, 2018

Worries Mount As 40-year MOT Exemption Comes Into Force

New rules governing the MOT exemption for classic vehicles are to come into force this month, prompting concerns among specialists in the sector.

From May 20, cars and motorbikes that have celebrated their 40th birthday will no longer be required to undergo the annual roadworthy test. Yet vehicles that are not roadworthy could find their insurance invalidated, and have serious repercussions should the car or bike be involved in an accident.

Divisive Changes

The new legislation applies to vehicles registered before 1978, and will work on an annual rolling exemption. This means that in 2019, many vehicles registered in 1979 will become exempt.

The Department for Transport suggests vehicles that are over 40 years old will have had to have been kept in good condition to stay on the road, and are used less frequently, therefore do not warrant annual testing.

The Government also states that many MOT testing centres do not have the relevant skills to pass older vehicles.

However, the controversial changes have prompted a broad discussion, with motorists, enthusiasts and specialists both for and against the new rules.

Consultation and Opposition

A consultation in 2017 showed that 56% of people opposed the new rules, with many concerns related to worries that classic cars that are not subject to testing could be unknowingly dangerous.

As well as jeopardising the safety other road users, accident claims brought about by owners of vehicles that are not roadworthy could be refused by insurers.

At Footman James we understand that there are clearly some industry-wide concerns about the impact of the changes to MOT exemption. However, what hasn’t changed is the legal responsibility of all owners to ensure that their vehicle is safe and fit for purpose when taking it out on a public highway.

In the terms and conditions of any insurance policy, there will be a clause which states that the vehicle must be maintained in a roadworthy condition. In the event of an accident that leads to a subsequent claim, the vehicle will be inspected by an engineer. During this inspection, the engineer will advise whether the incident in question was caused due to unsatisfactory maintenance of the vehicle or not.

We appreciate that vehicles over 40 years old are, in the main, cherished and maintained to a high standard by their genuine classic enthusiast owners. Therefore, we expect that many will voluntarily continue to have an MOT carried out on their vehicle, regardless of the change in legislation.

Further Reading

You can read more about the new MOT regulations on our blog: