The free MOT service that could save you from a £1,000 fine

Drivers urged to sign up in wake of MOT extension scheme

Ten million drivers around Britain are being urged to sign up for a free MOT reminder service to ensure they don’t accidentally break the law.

Driving a car without an MOT is a serious offence and carries a potential fine of £1,000 but there are fears that millions of motorists could unwittingly be caught out as a result of the MOT extension offered during the first lockdown.

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The extension ran from March 2020 until July 2020 and gave all car and motorbike owners a six-month extension on the validity of their vehicle’s MOT. Almost 10 million drivers took advantage of the extension, with their MOT dates changing as a result. Now the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) is warning that these changes could cause confusion.

Millions of cars were affected by the MOT extension schemeMillions of cars were affected by the MOT extension scheme
Millions of cars were affected by the MOT extension scheme

Data from the DVSA shows that in August 2020, as the MOT exemption offer ended, 15 per cent of vehicles were late for their MOT. By December 2020, this figure had increased to just over 28 per cent. A separate survey by GoCompare found that 13 per cent of drivers admitted they couldn’t remember when their car’s MOT was due.

Further research by MOT specialists KwikFit and based on DVSA figures estimates that around 1.8 million cars which qualified for the extension are still without a valid MOT, raising fears that many unsafe cars could be on the road illegally.

It all adds up to a lot of potential confusion, which is why the DVSA is encouraging drivers to sign up for a free reminder which will alert them in advance of their vehicle’s MOT date.

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The DVSA’s MOT reminder service sends vehicle owners an email or text reminder before their MOT is due – making it easy to remember the new date.

Driving without a valid MOT carries a hefty fineDriving without a valid MOT carries a hefty fine
Driving without a valid MOT carries a hefty fine
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DVSA’s Head of MOT Policy, Chris Price, said: “Between 30 March and the end of July last year almost 10 million MOT exemptions were issued to help motorists during the first lockdown.

“We know lots of vehicle owners are unsure about when their test is this year. So our free MOT reminder service offers peace of mind they won’t miss their test date.

“We’re committed to helping people to keep their vehicles safe to drive. Signing up for an MOT reminder is a quick and easy way for motorists to do this.”

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Eric Smith, MOT scheme manager at Kwik Fit, said it was vital drivers ensured their car was roadworthy and legal. He commented: “It may be that shifting the expiry dates with the extension has caused the MOT to slip from drivers’ minds, or perhaps they have been using their car so little that they have forgotten about having it tested. Some owners may think that because they’ve not been using their car it will be just as they left it, however parts will rust or wear with little use, bulbs may fail or windscreen wipers start to perish. We would urge drivers to make sure they are both safe and legal before heading out on to the road as restrictions ease.”

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