68,000 drivers caught without an MOT since test changes
The annual roadworthiness test was changed in May 2018, with stricter rules on emissions and safety.
The changes also brought higher fines for those caught driving a car in an unroadworthy condition.
The standard penalty for driving without an MOT is a £100 fine but this can rise to £1,000 if the case it taken to court and if the car is defined as “dangerous” under MOT testing it can rise to £2,500.
£6 million in fines
It is estimated that fines since the MOT changes have brought in at least £6 million.
The figures were revealed by a Freedom of Information request by Halfords Autocentres, and relate to police forces in England and Wales.
In total 68,027 drivers have been caught using a vehicle without an MOT since May 2018 - the equivalent of 100 a day. The Metropolitan Police recorded the most offenders (15,772), followed by West Yorkshire (6,019), Merseyside (5,461), Lancashire (4,520) and Essex (4,299).
Halfords Autocentres' Aaron Edwards said: “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.
“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.”
A 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.
However, 15 per cent admitted knowingly driving around without an MOT. More than an third (36 per cent) said this was because they couldn’t afford it but 23 per cent admitted it was because they thought they could get away with it.
Retest fee waived
Halfords Autocentres has announced that it is waiving the MOT restest fee for any motorists forced to self-isolate during the coronavirus outbreak.
Normally, missing a pre-booked retest will cost drivers £35 unless they give 10 days' notice. However, the move will allow drivers who are self-isolating a chance to make another appointment without incurring the extra cost.
Andy Randall, Halfords Autocentres managing director commented: “We are monitoring the potential impact of the coronavirus and want to do as much as possible to help keep the nation moving at this critical time. We’re looking at each situation on a case-by-case basis and pledging to waive the booking fee for anyone who misses their MOT appointment because of coronavirus.”