MVA: Cars with historic license plates cannot be driven to work

Day-to-day uses for cars 20 years or older leads to restricted uses for historic license plates.

Drivers of historic cars in Maryland may have received notice this month of some changes that will begin in a couple weeks.

The Motor Vehicle Administration sent out letters and emails to owners of vehicles with historic plates, telling them that starting in October, they will not be able to drive their cars to work, school, or for commercial use.

The change is meant to crack down on people abusing the system, who are using the historic designation for day-to-day purposes, in an effort to cut costs. The licensing fee for historic vehicles is far lower than a standard tag, costing just $25. On top of that, historic vehicles do not need to go through the inspection process, like the average car. Insurance for these historic cars is also available, which is far less expensive. 

William Higgs, from the St. Mary's Rod and Classic Car Club, received the notification for his 1965 Corvette.

"I think it's unfortuante that we had to have the change," he said. "But again it's because of the abuse of the system that requires it."

Even before the new rules were created, day-to-day use was restricted. However, the language was less specific, allowing for "occasional transportation and similar uses." Higgs said that the new language will make it clear that this behavior is not allowed, and will "add teeth" to the enforcement.

John Vannatta, from the American Truck Historical Society, said that a lot of car enthusiasts actually support the change, because it will "crack down on the abuse," however he said some of the folks who were following the rules will be impacted.

"A lot of guys on a nice sunny day," he said. "Got a kick out of driving their car to work that day. So now it kind of looks like you're kind of not following the rules... Technically you can't drive it to work."

The letter also said that cars with a model year of 1986 or newer "may be subject to safety equipment repair orders," if they are pulled over by police.
 


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