New classic car laws may ‘impact the liberties of owners’ with possible black box mandate

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Earlier this year, the Government launched the Modernising Vehicle Standards public consultation which sought to prevent “tampering” of road vehicles, citing safety and environmental reasons. With these proposals, it would create “create new offences with a system, part or component of a vehicle intended or adapted to be used on a road”.

“Also, we’ve asked that all of the existing garages, engineers and owners as well as all other businesses in the sector are exempted from any requirement to enforce these new rules on historic vehicles.

“This is probably what the legislators were going to do anyway, but there are a few things we need to keep an eye on.

“For example, the requirements on ‘in-use monitoring’ might involve fitting black boxes to all vehicles, which would both require vehicle alterations and impact the liberties of owners.”

The focus on the black boxes has been highlighted by many drivers, not just classic car owners, highlighting how the new laws could be seen as interfering with drivers.

Last week the Government provided a written response which read: “Our ‘Future of Transport’ work is a broad and ambitious programme focused on supporting the industry.

“The regulatory review aims to ensure our transport regulations are fit for the future.

“As part of the Future of Transport: Modernising Vehicle Standards regulatory review, we have put forward proposals to enable Government to better target and prevent harmful tampering with vehicle emission control systems, as well as with safety and security critical systems, parts and components.

“We are not proposing that all modifications be prevented, and we recognise there are legitimate reasons why a vehicle owner or business may want to modify a vehicle.

“Our proposals are not intended to hinder activities such as motorsports, restoration, repairs, or legitimate improvements and alterations to vehicles, or indeed do any damage to the businesses involved in these activities.

“Nevertheless, certain modifications can negatively affect the safety and health of the vehicle owner, its occupants, other road users, and the wider population.”

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