More than 68,000 motorists have been caught driving without an MOT since stricter guidelines were introduced, new research has revealed.
The MOT test changed in May 2018, with tighter rules around emissions and safety as well as higher fines for drivers caught with an unroadworthy vehicle.
A freedom of information request revealed 68,027 have been issued with penalty charges across England and Wales by police since the changes.
The Met Police force caught the most drivers (15,772), followed by West Yorkshire (6,019), Merseyside (5,461), Lancashire (4,520) and Essex (4,299).
A typical fine for driving without an MOT is £100, but this can rise to £1,000 if it goes to court – so the treasury is thought to have netted a minimum of £6 MILLION in the 18 months since the MOT system had a shakeup.
However, if a motorist is caught driving their car despite a ‘dangerous’ MOT classification, they could face a £2,500 penalty.
The investigation was carried out by Halfords Autocentres as MOT stations across the UK deal with their busiest month of the year.
In March, 2017, a record-breaking 562,337 new cars were registered. These cars are now three years old and are expected to have their first MOT this month.
“More than 100 motorists per day are caught by police driving without a valid MOT and our research suggests this is just a fraction of the people who are on the road with an expired test,” said Aaron Edwards of Halfords Autocentres.
“However, for many this isn’t intentional, with many simply unaware their car’s MOT was due. Around one-in-five motorists have driven a car without a valid MOT because had forgotten or didn’t know it was due.
“The MOT is not only a legal requirement, it is a test to prove your vehicle is safe and roadworthy, so we urge motorists to check when theirs is due.”
The separate survey of 2,000 motorists by Halfords Autocentres revealed 22 per cent had driven a car without an MOT because they had forgotten or didn’t know it was due.
And seven per cent said they didn’t know when their MOT is due, and could be driving around with it already expired. However, 15 per cent admitted knowingly driving around without an MOT.
The main reason for this was that they couldn’t afford to (36 per cent), followed by not having time to get their car tested (33 per cent).
Incredibly, 17 per cent of those who knowingly drove without an MOT said they couldn’t be bothered to get it done, while 23 per cent thought they could get away with it.
Motorists can get a free reminder to let them know when their MOT is due, however 52 per cent of those questioned weren’t aware of this.
Worst areas for motorists caught without an MOT
- Met Police – 15,772
- West Yorkshire – 6,019
- Merseyside – 5,461
- Lancashire – 4,520
- Essex – 4,299
- Humberside – 2,122
- Suffolk – 2,058
- Hertfordshire – 1,888
- Surrey – 1,853
- Devon and Cornwall – 1,852
Data from 40 police forces (May 20, 2018 to January 31, 2020)