Words: Richard Rosenthal, Photographs: Peter Rosenthal
Owners, keepers and drivers/riders have always had the responsibility to ensure their vehicles aren’t being used on the roads in a dangerous condition.
Though most vehicles over 40 years old are no longer subject to testing, that doesn’t mean standards should slip. Since the introduction of the rolling 40 year MoT test exemption for most historic vehicles, (from May 22, 2018), the YWA column has received a continuing series of enquiries.
Many are asking what are they responsible for, while others think the annual MoT test is a ‘guarantee’ of a vehicle’s condition and are upset it is no longer a requirement for older machines.
Since the introduction of MoT testing for appropriate vehicles, the procedure has been a safety check of the vehicle on the day of testing only.
And to satisfy this test vehicles have to reach a minimum standard only – it is expected makers, service centres, owners and enthusiasts will want to achieve better than this. An MoT test certificate isn’t a valid guarantee of a vehicle’s condition for the life of the test certificate (one year or up to 13 months if dated).
Ignoring serious chassis/frame corrosion, for example, may have repercussions for the MoT tester and testing station for the first three months of an MoT test certificate’s life, and perhaps longer in some circumstances.
This exception apart, we, as vehicle owners, custodians, keepers and users,have always been responsible for our vehicles’ safety condition. Thus taking a hypothetical scenario where our vehicle is involved in an incident, or a spot roadside check, and is found to be in a dangerous condition, it is us, the keeper, who is responsible, not the MoT testing station.
If the testing station was found to be negligent, they may be subject to retraining or whatever is appropriate, but we as the vehicle keeper will remain liable. And while many have tried, as a rule the buck cannot be sidestepped or passed to an MoT testing station or service centre, unless they are found to negligent.
In exactly the same way, we are responsible for the safety condition of our MoT test exempt vehicles. And if found in a dangerous condition, as pointed out previously, we, as the vehicle keeper and/or user, are responsible.
Government documents state: “You can be fined up to £2500 and get three penalty points for using a vehicle in a dangerous condition.” And it must be stressed again you are liable regardless of whether the vehicle is MoT test exempt or holds a current MoT test certificate.
Thus the presence of an MoT test certificate doesn’t and never has meant you can pass the blame to the MoT tester.
Read more and view more images in the June 2019 issue of TCM – on sale now!Enjoy more The Classic MotorCycle reading in the monthly magazine. Click here to subscribe.