The Department for Transport has announced new 2018 MOT changes, stating that cars more than 40 years old will be exempt from MOT testing, however, owners will still be able to voluntarily elect for an MOT if they feel their vehicle needs one. The current law states that only cars from before 1960 are exempt from the annual roadworthiness test, which represents 197,000 cars on UK roads, the new rules will add a further 293,000 cars to the exemption list.

The DfT’s reasoning for their decision was that cars of this age are considered to be classic and are usually maintained in good condition;

• They are used on few occasions, usually on short trips and requiring a full MOT
was unreasonable;
• The modern MOT was no longer relevant to cars over 40 years old, or garages
could not test them adequately; and
• It would harmonise the MOT exemption date with the date for Vehicle Excise
Duty.

Owners of such vehicles tend to spend a lot of time on maintaining and upgrading their car, meaning that they very often know the ins and outs, as well as the ‘health’ status of their car better than those owning new cars. In fact the stats in DfT’s report show that in 2015, 215 people were killed or seriously injured in crashes involving vehicles first registered in 1961-77. In the same year, there were 160,385 deaths and serious injuries in crashes involving vehicles built after 1988.

The new date would also bring the age of cars exempt from MOTs in line with the exemption of road tax. By looking at the DfT’s stats, the Government has dismissed concerns that these cars pose greater risk of failure than modern ones. The report also suggests that of the 2217 respondents questioned for the new proposal, more than 50% supported the suggested annual or biennial roadworthiness test for 40 year old and older vehicle, which would include checking the cars’ identity, brakes, steering, tyres and lights. This approach was rejected by the DfT, who said that: “Those owners who feel an annual check is needed will be able to submit their vehicles for a voluntary MOT.”

A much stronger majority voted against the exemption of vehicles aged 30 years and over from MOT tests, in this instance the DfT sided with the consultation. The decision was reached by citing the accident data as well a lot of negative response from the public to this proposal.