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Warning over surge in vehicles without an MOT as drivers ‘cannot afford tests’

Hundreds of thousands more potentially unsafe vehicles could remain on UK roads this month because their owners cannot afford an MOT test, a motoring company has warned.

Halfords commissioned a survey of 2,006 motorists which suggested that one in six (17%) drivers whose vehicles’ MOT is due in March say they will not be able to afford it.

The majority (71%) of those people say they will continue to use their vehicle anyway.

Halfords warned this could lead to around 406,000 additional vehicles without an MOT being driven on UK roads.

Among the respondents who said they will not be able to afford their next MOT test, two-thirds explained that this is because they have to prioritise their spending elsewhere.

Drivers in Britain can be fined up to £1,000 for using a vehicle without a valid MOT certificate.

Continuing to use a vehicle deemed “dangerous” by an MOT test without rectifying the issues can lead to a fine of up to £2,500 as well as a driving ban and three penalty points.

The tests check a number of parts such as lights, seatbelts, tyres and brakes to ensure they meet legal standards.

Halfords chief executive Graham Stapleton said: “The data shows that March is set to be the worst month we have ever seen when it comes to cars on our roads without an MOT.

“MOTs are vital annual safety checks. It’s not about ticking boxes.

“The fact that so many could be driving their kids to school in vehicles without an MOT is a genuine worry.

“The bottom line is that it is not worth the risk, not just of a fine and points, but of endangering yourself or others.”

Antony Kildare, chief executive of road safety charity IAM RoadSmart, said: “Households up and down the country are being forced to cut back on everyday outgoings to balance the books, but it’s extremely worrying to learn that such a large proportion of motorists are opting not to have their annual MOT.”

The Department for Transport is consulting on proposals to require new cars, motorbikes and vans in Britian to have their first MOT test four years after they are first registered, compared with three years currently.

After the first test, MOTs are required every 12 months.

– Halfords commissioned research company Mortar Research to conduct the survey in February.