Classic vehicles built before 1960 will be exempted from the MoT test from November 18, roads minister Mike Penning announced today.
The Government said the decision had been made because it believes classic and historic vehicles are often “very well maintained by their owners and have a much lower accident and MoT failure rate than newer vehicles”. It has also received “high levels of support” from its public consultation.
Pre-1960 licensed vehicles make up about 0.6% of the total number of licensed vehicles in the UK, but are involved in 0.03% of road casualties and accidents.
The current requirement to undergo an MoT test goes over and above the obligations set out in European legislation.
Owners of affected vehicles will still be able to take exempt vehicles for an MoT test on a voluntary basis.
Penning said: “We are committed to cutting out red tape which costs motorists money without providing significant overall benefits.
“Owners of classic cars and motorbikes tend to be enthusiasts who maintain their vehicles well – they don’t need to be told to look after them, they’re out there in all weathers checking the condition of the engine, tyres and bodywork.
“Owners of classic vehicles will still be legally required to ensure that they are safe and in a proper condition to be on the road but scrapping the MoT test for these vehicles will save motorists money.”
Edmund King, AA president, told AM via Twitter the announcment was a "victory for common sense".
The announcement has been welcomed by the Federation of British Historic Vehicles Clubs which represents approximately 500 clubs of high-end historic cars in the UK.
However, Practical Classics, the UK classic car magazine, believes that the change could be a “potential disaster” opening the door for safety issues and accidents.
Practical Classics editor Danny Hopkins said: “The Government has handed the baton back to owners and insurance companies.
“It means pre-60 cars will potentially be untested and while the majority of owners will keep their cars well maintained, there are the 2% that will cause trouble.
“An accident might not happen straight away, but when it does the finger will point straight back at the owners and the Government will probably have a knee-jerk reaction.”
Hopkins believes insurance companies will demand an annual certificate of roadworthiness from an approved repairer for customers looking to insure their pre-60 classic in the future, which will arguably end up costing more than a MoT.