As most us know, when our car or motorcycle is three years old or more we have to have an M.oT. test to make sure it’s in safe working order to allow us to use the British roads. But did you know when this test started and why?
After the Second World War, industry in most of the manufacturing countries of the world increased significantly and none so much as the motor industry. In fact, Britain became the second largest manufacturer and exporter in the world only being beaten by the USA. Car production rose from 2000 units in the 1940’s to 523,000 in the 1950’s. By the 1960’s this figure had increased to over 1.3 million units. BMC, which later became British Leyland, was one of the largest car builders at that time employing over 120,000 workers at its peak.
So it’s clear to see that by this time there were far more cars on the roads and some of these cars built in the 50’s were now approaching ten tears old and so it was suggested that cars, motorbikes, vans and taxi’s or Hackney carriages of 10 years old and over should have some sort of inspection to confirm they were road safe.
Introducing the “Ministry of Transport”. This was the name given to the government body responsible for issuing an “MOT” certificate. The first test was conducted on the 12th September 1960 and only tested the lights, indicators, brakes and steering mechanism of the vehicle so most of the vehicles passed this test quite comfortably. The cost of the test was 14 shillings but an extra shilling was charged for a certificate if the vehicle passed. This shilling wasn’t charged if the vehicle failed. It was a costly test in real terms as the average salary was only around £60 a month. It wasn’t until some time later that other aspects of the vehicle were tested such as the horn, windscreen wipers, tyre condition and suspension.
In 1967 all new cars had seatbelts fitted as standard and of course the testing of these seatbelts became part of the MOT test soon afterwards. Another change in legislation meant that all cars registered as new on or after 1st January 1973 had to be fitted with reflective registration plates rather than the black and silver number plates that had been fitted up to this point and of course they should be displayed legally rather than mixed up or miss-spaced.
Even more recently, the vehicles exhaust emissions have been added to the test to make sure the vehicle isn’t puffing out gasses that are polluting the atmosphere. A strange rule though that has recently been introduced by the DVLA is that classic cars manufactured before 1960 no longer require an MOT for use on the road although they DO require an MOT to qualify to have the private number plates removed from the vehicle. We think that this rule is ridiculous and should be the complete opposite because that means that a vehicle that is in a dreadful condition, without correct maintenance can be used on the road although if you want to remove the registration it has be fit for the road. Where is the logic in that?
You can check the MOT history of any vehicle by using this helpful link