Thousands caught without MOT in police crackdown

More than 100 drivers are caught each day without a valid MOT


Over 68,000 drivers have been issued with penalty charges by police forces across England and Wales, a freedom of information request has revealed.

Between 20 May 2018 and 31 January 2020, 40 police forces issued fines to 68,027 drivers who were stopped and caught without a valid MOT certificate.

These findings have come since the MOT test changed in May 2018 to include:

  • Stricter rules around emissions
  • Extra tests on parts like tyres, brakes and lights
  • New defect categories
  • Exemptions for cars over 40 years old
  • New look MOT certificate

As well as the FOI request, Halfords Autocentres carried out a separate survey of 2,000 motorists, which revealed:

  • 22% drove without an MOT because they'd forgotten about it or didn't realise it was due
  • 7% said they didn't know when their MOT was due and it could've already expired
  • 15% admitted they'd consciously driven without an MOT

“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 Halfords Autocentres category manager, Aaron Edwards.

“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 they 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.”

Why are people avoiding MOTs?

The top two reasons for not getting an MOT were not being able to afford the test (36%) and not having time (33%).

Amazingly, 23% of those who had chosen to drive without an MOT admitted they thought they'd get away with it and 17% said they just couldn't be bothered to get it done.

This is despite fines for driving without an MOT increasing with the changes in 2018. The usual penalty for driving without an MOT is £100, increasing to £1,000 if it goes to court, but drivers of cars with a 'dangerous' MOT classification face a fine of up to £2,500.

A record-breaking 562,337 new cars were registered in March 2017 – cars which are all now three years old and due their first MOT this month.

Top 10 areas where motorists were caught without an MOT

  1. Met Police district – 15,772
  2. West Yorkshire – 6,019
  3. Merseyside – 5,461
  4. Lancashire – 4,520
  5. Essex – 4,299
  6. Humberside – 2,122
  7. Suffolk – 2,058
  8. Hertfordshire – 1,888
  9. Surrey – 1,853
  10. Devon and Cornwall – 1,852

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