Drivers who fail to renew their MOT on time have been fined a total of more than £35 million in the past five years.
A Freedom of Information request to the UK’s 45 police forces found that, since 2012, drivers have been hit with 424,316 penalties for driving without a valid MOT certificate. The typical fine for an out-of-date certificate is a £100 fixed penalty notice, but they can go up to £1,000 if taken to court.
Figures from the 36 police forces that replied to the FoI request showed that they earn £7.5 million a year on average from MOT fines. West Yorkshire Police issued the highest number of penalties to drivers, with over 121,000 since 2012, with the Metropolitan Police in London in second place, handing out over 64,000 penalties.
The Driver & Vehicle Standards Agency shares its MOT data with the police, who in return use ANPR cameras to fine drivers with out-of-date MOTs.
“Driving a vehicle without a valid MOT is taken seriously,” a spokesman from West Yorkshire Police said. “The proactive work our officers do shows that this is an unacceptable risk and, as such, anyone found without a valid MOT will be dealt with positively.”
A poll by the CarBuyer website, which conducted to research, found a third of drivers said they’d forgotten to renew their current MOT on time, with 15% leaving it over a month overdue.
Although many dealerships offer automatic MOT reminders, there’s no central system in place like there is for Vehicle Excise Duty where motorists are automatically sent a reminder when their road tax is due.
The DVSA recently announced that it is working on one for MOTs, but said that when this moves out of ‘beta’ testing it will likely require drivers to sign up, rather than sending notifications automatically. A DVSA spokesman said: “We’re currently testing an MOT reminder service where initially vehicle owners can sign up to receive a reminder e-mail at four weeks and two weeks before their MOT is due.”