His­toric tag des­ig­na­tion law change is mis­guided

Maryland Independent - - Community Forum -

I, too, re­ceived the let­ter from the MVA that Mr. John Roberts ref­er­enced in Friday’s let­ter to the editor (“Dis­turbed by his­toric ve­hi­cle law changes,” Sept. 23).

I am an older (I re­ally don’t like to think of my­self as el­derly) car re­storer and col­lec­tor. I un­der­stood clearly what the use lim­i­ta­tions of the ve­hi­cles that I reg­is­tered as his­toric were when I reg­is­tered them and have op­er­ated my his­toric ve­hi­cles as I un­der­stood the law to al­low.

Mr. Roberts ac­knowl­edges that many peo­ple use his­toric reg­is­tered ve­hi­cles for daily trans­porta­tion. That is not al­low­able un­der the law cur­rently in ef­fect. The new law does not change that, but now states that driv­ing to work, school or for com­mer­cial ac­tiv­ity are specif­i­cally pro­hib­ited. The state of­fered those who col­lect and pre­serve his­toric ve­hi­cles an op­tion to lower their reg­is­tra­tion fees and also to avoid safety and emis­sion in­spec­tion re­quire­ments with the un­der­stand­ing that these ve­hi­cles would be on the road very lit­tle, cer­tainly not nearly ev­ery day. For those of us that have used the his­toric ve­hi­cle as the state in­tended, an oc­ca­sional drive to and from work on a nice day was a fun thing to do. That op­tion has now been re­moved.

The much larger is­sue is that the new leg­is­la­tion is not well thought out. Had the ex­ist­ing law been en­forced, many ve­hi­cles that were be­ing used im­prop­erly could have been re­moved from the road. En­force­ment ap­pears to have been lax, per­haps non-ex­is­tent, and prob­a­bly im­pos­si­ble. If en­force­ment is strict, the of­fi­cer may stop any­one in a ve­hi­cle with his­toric tags at any time if the of­fi­cer sus­pects that the ve­hi­cle is be­ing used im­prop­erly. It will re­quire driv­ers to ex­plain where they are go­ing and why they are go­ing there, and re­lies on the of­fi­cer to some­how de­ter­mine the op­er­a­tor’s in­tent and his­tory of use of the ve­hi­cle.

The new reg­u­la­tions will not make the cur­rent law more eas­ily en­forced and will not sig­nif­i­cantly re­duce the num­ber of, or the mis­use of, his­toric ve­hi­cles. A bet­ter so­lu­tion would be to re­quire any­one want­ing to reg­is­ter a his­toric ve­hi­cle to have a daily driver ve­hi­cle reg­is­tered in their name first. While that would not stop folks from us­ing their his­toric ve­hi­cle daily, it would make it less fi­nan­cially at­trac­tive.

John Brough, In­dian Head

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