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An MOT is not needed for cars that are less than three years old. From that point on, a car must have an annual MOT check to be driven legally – and there are a surprising number of people who choose to drive without one!

Around four million people every year admit to driving without an MOT, which is a staggering amount given the harsh penalties that this can incur, especially when contrasted with the relative ease with which you can get your MOT test done.

What are the penalties?

Your MOT certificate is a legal requirement for anyone whose vehicle is older than three years old, and ANPR systems will flag any vehicle without an up-to-date MOT certificate on file. If you are pulled over, you may incur a fine of up to £1,000, earn penalty points on your licence, and you will be instructed to book your MOT as soon as possible. If you are looking for an MOT in London, Elite Direct is a trusted automotive specialist and offers affordable MOT services in London.

If your vehicle would have failed its MOT and is in a poor condition – which results in you being the cause of an accident – the penalties are, understandably, much more severe: you may be fined up to £2,500; you may lose your licence entirely for a period; your car may be seized and crushed; and you may end up in jail, or with a criminal record.

Why do people risk it?

Of the four million offenders, around two-thirds are accidental offenders, one third are deliberate breaches, albeit with no real criminal intent and a tiny proportion are overt criminals.

Accidental offence

These have forgotten the anniversary date or missed the reminder to book the test, and are completely unaware that they should have had their MOT renewed. The most egregious offenders from this group were not caught for around three months; others are picked up and told to get their MOT done within three days; while others remember by themselves and rush to book an appointment, restoring their legal status.

Deliberate offence

Deliberate offenders, comprising around a million drivers – or just over – include those who suspect their car will fail its MOT and don’t want to risk having an expensive repair bill so they avoid booking the test in a timely manner. This is an extremely dangerous practice as it could result in an increase in road accidents, imperilling not only the driver and his passengers but also other road users and pedestrians on the side of the road.

Criminal offenders

Joyriders, car thieves and other felons tend not to worry about the laws of the land, and will steal cars from wherever they can, patching them up and tearing around on the UK’s road network in the commission of various crimes or leisure pursuits. They are a tiny minority, but an exceedingly dangerous one – hence the strict crackdown on any vehicle with no MOT.