In the UK, every vehicle that is over three years old must undergo an annual MOT (Ministry of Transport). This is a vehicle safety check that will ensure that the car meets road safety and environmental standards. The MOT will examine many different aspects of the vehicle and must always be carried out by certified testers. If a car fails its MOT, all listed issues must be fixed before you can drive it again.

How Many Drive Without an MOT?

Shockingly, a survey in 2023 revealed that a quarter of Brits admitted to driving without a valid MOT the year before – this amounted to over 100 million illegal journeys. Those who admitted to driving without a valid MOT claimed they did an average of 10.6 times, suggesting that it was habitual and purposeful, not accidental.

How Many People Get Caught?

The survey also revealed that a low percentage of motorists driving without an MOT were caught. 24% of drivers equates to 9.3 million motorists, yet police only issued around 17,000 fines during that time period. Most forces are only issuing a few hundred fines per year despite police having ANPR (automatic number plate recognition) cameras capable of detecting cars without an MOT, tax, or insurance.

Why are MOTs Important?

The number of people driving without a valid MOT is a cause for concern. This is because vehicles without a valid MOT may not be roadworthy, posing a significant risk to the driver and other road users. MOTs are crucial for identifying various issues, such as worn tyres – the legal tread limit is 1.6mm and driving on this or less is extremely hazardous. For safety, it is recommended that drivers replace their car tyres before they reach 2mm. An MOT can also identify problems with the car’s brakes, lights, suspension, and emission levels, to name a few.

Why are So Many People Driving with No MOT?

There are a few reasons why so many people are driving without a valid MOT. A common reason in recent times has been a backlog caused by COVID-19, which made it more challenging to get an MOT booked in. The cost of car repairs and the cost-of-living crisis is likely another reason with many people struggling financially. Additionally, the low chance of getting caught could be another reason, which is why fines/legal action should be enforced more to make the roads safer for all.

It is shocking to see that so many people are driving in the UK without a valid MOT, especially as this can put so many people at risk. This is an essential safety check that can detect issues with an automobile that need to be resolved, so motorists should always book in their annual MOT before their current one expires.


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