Why “forgetting” your car’s MOT is now more likely to land you in trouble with the law
Technological advances increase chances of being caught without an MOT test certificate
The millions of motorists who “forget” to MOT their car each year now face more likelihood of prosecution than ever before.
While the Government does not collate official statistics for the number of vehicles on the road without a valid MOT certificate, it says that it is likely to be similar to those estimated to be driving without valid insurance or tax.
Recent research by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders found that a third of all motorists had driven a car without a valid MOT test certificate. At the end of 2012, there were 35 million vehicles on UK roads.
Advances in the use of more readily available digital MOT data and the tools used by police to detect motoring offences means that being caught driving illegally is now more likely than ever before, according to a Department for Transport (DfT) spokesman.
MOT certificates became “digital” in 2011, making it easier for records of vehicles not registered as SORN – or temporarily off the road – to be checked for a test that is up to date.
A DfT spokesman said the number of motorists driving without a valid MOT certificate or tax disc is declining annually.
The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency monitors the vehicles that are on the road without a valid tax disc. Similarly, systems like ANPR – or Automatic Number Plate Recognition – mean that police are able to detect vehicles that do not have all of their documents in order.
The DfT spokesman added: “People should also be aware that the police will always perform a number of routine checks - including a check for an up to date MOT certificate - whenever they stop a vehicle because of a suspected motoring offence.”
Motorists who drive without a valid MOT certificate face a fine of up to £1,000 and penalty points on their driving licence. Having no MOT certificate can also invalidate a car’s insurance, leaving a driver facing substantial costs in the event of an accident.
A spokesman for the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency, which regulates MOTs, said: "The MOT test plays a vital role in making sure that all vehicles meet road safety and environmental standards.
“Any vehicle owner driving without a valid MOT can be identified by law enforcement agencies using Automatic Number Plate Recognition and risks prosecution.”
Drivers have a responsibility
Ed Morrow, campaigns officer for Brake, the road safety charity, said: “All drivers have a responsibility to make sure both themselves and their vehicles are in a fit state to be on the road.
“Common vehicle defects such as worn tyres and brakes can kill, just as surely as the driver being drunk or tired. That’s why it’s vital to make sure your vehicle is in roadworthy condition with an annual MOT.
“Don’t be tempted to dodge the cost – it could cost lives. However, don’t assume your vehicle is safe just because it had a valid MOT – always do a walk-round check before you drive to check for tyre and wheel defects, tyre pressure, and oil and water levels.”
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