Third of motorists have driven without MOT

Shocking new findings show that a third of motorists have driven a car knowing it has no MOT.

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) surveyed 1,000 UK motorists and found that, of those who have driven a car without a valid MOT, 67% admitted driving for up to a week before the retest, 24% for up to a month, 7% for up to six months and 2% for more than six months.

By driving without an MOT, motorists risk fines of up to £1,000, as well as potentially invalidating their motor insurance, which itself counts as a driving offence carrying between six to eight penalty points.

And cars that are older than three years also need a valid MOT before they can be taxed – with further fines for motorists who drive an untaxed car.

The research suggests men are more likely to continue driving after their MOT has lapsed – 35% of all male drivers say they have done so, against 31% of female drivers.

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There are significant regional differences in the findings.

The East Midlands topped the table for remembering to carry out a car's MOT, with just 15% of motorists in the region saying they have driven a car without a valid MOT. At the opposite end of the spectrum, drivers in the South West were most likely to drive without an MOT, with 41% admitting to forgetting.

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The data also suggests that younger motorists are worst at remembering the test date, with 39% of drivers aged 18 to 24 saying they have continued to drive after the MOT had expired. The most diligent were 45 to 54-year-olds, with only 28% saying the same.

To help motorists remember to have their car tested each year, SMMT has teamed up with the Trading Standards-approved garage network, Motor Codes, to offer car owners a free MOT service reminder.

Available at, the service will send motorists a reminder every year before their car's annual test of roadworthiness is due.

The SMMT research has been carried out in partnership with car manufacturers and their dealer networks throughout the UK as part of the industry's Minute or Two initiative, which encourages motorists to carry out 10 simple visual checks of their vehicle before the MOT test.

The full Minute or Two checklist – also at – includes checks of headlights, tyres, windscreen wipers and fluid levels. The website also features a video guide to the checks and a Garage Finder tool, enabling motorists to find their nearest dealer.

The Minute or Two scheme is backed by every major car-maker in the UK, with technicians at more than 5,500 manufacturer main dealerships committed to carry out a free 10-point pre-MOT visual inspection to help the vehicle avoid failing its test due to simple-to-fix issues.

Mike Baunton, SMMT interim chief executive, said: 'Each year, a significant proportion of motorists forget their car's MOT, risking safety, fines and penalty points.'

Sue Robinson, National Franchised Dealers Association director, said, 'The statistics show that a number of motorists are driving vehicles without a valid MOT, which could result in genuine safety risks to them and other road-users.'

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