Das Schreckgespenst der strengen technischen Überwachung, für ältere Autos und Motorräder bedrohte lange die Rechte von Enthusiasten, ihre Klassiker uneingeschränkt zu benutzen. In Bezug auf die EU-Richtlinie zur technischen Überwachung von 2014 hat sich die Lobbyarbeit der FIVA in den letzten zehn Jahren als erfolgreich erwiesen. Schweden hat inzwischen einen willkommenen Präzedenzfall geschaffen, indem es die Richtlinie den lokalen Bedürfnissen angepasst hat. U.a. wurde eine Altersgrenze von 50 Jahren oder älter eingeführt, die Ausnahmen für Oldtimern, Lastkraftwagen und Bussen vorsieht.
A potential threat to the future of classic vehicles on European roads has been successfully tackled, following a decade’s work by FIVA (the Fédération Internationale des Véhicules Anciens, or international federation of historic vehicles).
The spectre of stringent roadworthiness testing, inappropriate to older cars, bikes and commercials, long threatened the rights of enthusiasts to use their classics freely. It was only on the issue of the 2014 EU directive on roadworthiness testing that FIVA’s decade of lobbying was shown to have succeeded. Sweden then set a welcome precedent in interpreting the directive to suit local needs, by introducing a ‘50 years or older’ age limit that gives exemptions to historic cars, lorries and buses.
Peter Edqvist, Senior Vice President at FIVA, and President of the Swedish Historic Vehicle Federation, explains the significance of Sweden’s actions to the rest of Europe and beyond:
“It’s some 10 years since FIVA first learned of plans for a new EU approach to roadworthiness testing, which at the time spelt bad news for HVs (historic vehicles). FIVA realised it was vital to take action before any new laws were written. Once a law has been formally introduced it’s too late to change it.
“Years of dedicated lobbying work led by FIVA’s Legislation Commission followed, in cooperation with the Historic Vehicle Group of the European Parliament and its chair, Mr Bernd Lange, a German Member of Parliament. The key result is that the directive has become the first piece of EU legislation to define historic vehicles as a distinct category of vehicle, recognising the need to deal with them differently. I’m happy to say that the definition in the directive is very much in line with FIVA’s own historic vehicle definition, as this quote from the EU legal text illustrates: “Vehicles of historic interest are supposed to conserve the heritage of the period during which they were constructed.”
The new rules were not set up as a regulation but as a directive, meaning that EU countries could make local amendments. This made it possible to establish less frequent periodic testing for historic vehicles than for modern vehicles and also to exempt them, from a certain age, from periodic testing at all. Sweden was the first to take this step; subsequently FIVA members in other countries came to a similar result.
The UK Government, for example, has now published its definition of a Vehicle of Historic Interest, following intensive discussions between the UK Department for Transport and the Federation of British Historic Vehicle Clubs – a member of FIVA. As a result of these open and collaborative discussions, most vehicles manufactured or first registered over 40 years ago will, as of 20 May 2018, be entitled to be exempt from periodic testing in the UK (the MoT test) unless they have been substantially changed.
“Of course, in the unlikely event that a faulty HV causes an accident, it would be not only a personal tragedy but could create a feeling of bad will towards the whole HV movement,” continues Peter Edqvist. “Hence a great many statistics were studied, including distances driven by HVs and accidents caused by vehicle faults – which were proved to be almost zero for HVs. Together with the new directive stating a minimum level of technical roadside inspections, the risks must be considered very small.”
Comments President of FIVA Patrick Rollet, “The new EU directive for roadworthiness testing will be introduced in all EU countries from May 2018, defining a set of minimum regulations for all EU countries that must be implemented in local laws. Now that Sweden – and subsequently the UK – has published these local laws, it’s very good news indeed for the historic vehicle movement.
“I would personally encourage owners to opt for an appropriate level of voluntary roadworthiness testing to reduce even further the possibility of a historic vehicle being involved in an accident. Certainly, a regular expert check is a responsible step that demonstrates an owner’s commitment to safety, but the Swedish exemption from standard roadworthiness testing for vehicles of 50 years or older sets a welcome precedent encouraging other European countries – and the wider world – to continue to enjoy classic motoring.
“The news also demonstrates the importance of good working relationships between the HV movement and the authorities and politicians in each country, helping the law-making process to take account of exceptional circumstances – and avoiding unpleasant surprises when it’s too late to do anything about it! Congratulations must go to the Swedish Historic Vehicle Federation for its hard work in meeting transport authorities, the government, members of parliament, the testing companies, insurance companies and others, as well as to the historic vehicle clubs of other countries who have likewise worked hard to establish appropriate local laws.”
Adds Tiddo Bresters, chairman of FIVA’s Legislation Commission, “Protecting our right to use our historic vehicles does not come freely. It takes a lot of hard work by numerous people – over a period of many years – to achieve the desired result.”
Concludes Peter Edqvist, “Without the work of the FIVA Legislation Commission, it would certainly not have been possible to achieve the results that we did in Sweden – and we couldn’t have done it on our own.”
For more press information, or to speak to a FIVA representative for a specific country, please contact Gautam Sen, FIVA’s Vice President Communications on firstname.lastname@example.org, +33(0) 6 87 16 43 39 (mobile), or +33(0) 1 53 19 14 20 (landline).