We are all human, and often the time spent on our old-car hobby is hard-won. We might have the best of intentions as far as maintaining our cars in a good and roadworthy state is concerned, but without that annual stick that used to lightly beat us we may put things off a bit. Can we honestly say, hand on heart, that once a year we will inspect our cars thoroughly ourselves, or pay someone to do it, when we no longer need to?
We do 'need' to, of course, because it will still remain an offence to use a road vehicle in an unroadworthy condition, but who now decides what that is? And what if an accident is caused by a component failure whose deterioration could have been spotted during an MOT before it became terminal? Nor is it any good thinking that, just because a car has covered hardly any miles in the last year or so, nothing has changed. Inactivity encourages brakes to seize or leak, seals to drip, hoses to perish, while condensation encourages corrosion.
Voluntary MOTs will still be possible, of course, as they have been since pre-1960 cars were exempted from the test a few years ago, but the Government's response to the exemption consultation reveals that just 6 per cent of such cars are now tested annually. When my 1959 Mini became MOT-exempt I pledged that I would still have it tested, but I didn't. It seems I am not alone, and the same will surely apply to pre-1978 cars that are about to be exempted.
So why has the Government done this, given that there seems to be no upside other than saving us time and money, and given that of the 2029 responses received from the public to the consultation's proposals, a majority (1130, so not huge) was against the idea?