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Driving penalties for motorists who fail to MOT their vehicles

What to do if your MOT is due during COVID-19

A leading motoring solicitor has urged motorists not to forget to MOT their vehicles this month as the extension period, introduced in the UK at the height of the coronavirus pandemic, comes to an end or else they will face hefty fines, points on their licence or in some cases a driving ban.

When the COVID-19 lockdown was introduced the government announced it was waiving the requirement for MOT tests for six months, extending the MOT certificates of cars due to be tested between 30 March 2020 and 29 March 2021, making them valid for 18 months rather than 12.

However, the government recently announced that the MOT extension period is coming to an end for vehicles where MOTs are due on or after 1 August.  

DVSA figures state that as a result of the MOT extension period up to five million cars were not tested and as 33% fail on their first test on average, it is estimated that there could be a staggering 1.6 million unsafe cars on UK roads.

Paul Loughlin, solicitor and a specialist in motoring law at Stephensons Solicitors LLP, said:

“With the easing of lockdown restrictions, there can be an overwhelming urge to jump in our cars and travel anywhere other than being cooped up at home. However, that sense of urgency can come back to bite, particularly if you’re found to be driving without a valid MOT or driving a dangerous vehicle.

“The government’s decision to reintroduce mandatory testing from 1 August 2020 means that if your MOT is due on or after that date, you must book your vehicle in to be tested as usual. Failure to do so can result in a fine up to £1,000 and if your vehicle is found to be dangerous, it can mean fines of up to £2,500, three points on your license or even a possible ban from driving. 

“There is so much going on at the moment that it can be easy to prioritise other areas. However, the cost of inaction can be so much greater, not only financially but also in respect of your safety and that of any passengers.”

Here is a quick reminder of the penalty’s drivers can face if they fail to have a valid MOT for their vehicle and reminders of the consequences of failing to properly insure and tax a vehicle.

Failure to MOT:

  • Drivers can face a fine of up to £2,500 for not having a valid MOT and MOT certificate.
  • If the vehicle is unsafe a as consequence of being outside of a valid MOT then the driver can be charged with driving a vehicle in a dangerous condition, which can lead to three points on a driving licence.

No insurance:

  • A driver’s obligations around the insurance of vehicles have not changed during this period.
  • A driver can get fixed penalty of six points and a £300 fine or (if it goes to court) can lead to an unlimited fine and between six and eight points or potentially a disqualification from driving.

Vehicle tax penalties:

  • A vehicle still needs to be taxed despite the relaxing of MOT requirements.
  • Failure to tax vehicle is monitored by the DVLA and they can identify vehicles that are kept without tax in place. Vehicle owners who do not have a valid tax are most likely to receive a fixed penalty (or Late Licensing Penalty) of £80, reduced to £40 if paid within 28 days. DVLA guidance on this is here.
  • If a driver is caught driving without tax, this could escalate to court, where a fine of up to £1,000 can be imposed.

More information on the government guidance can be found here.