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Driving Without MOT – The Risks and Repercussions

Almost 1,700 people lost their lives in motor vehicle crashes in the United Kingdom in 2022. And the number of deaths on roadways around the world each year totals 1.3 million. The UK is taking road safety very seriously. To improve road safety, among the important requirements it mandates of vehicle owners is the MOT (Ministry of Transport) test. Driving without MOT in the UK can have serious legal consequences and can pose safety risks. 

What is an MOT?

mot test to prevent vehicle fails

The MOT test is a comprehensive inspection of a vehicle to make sure it’s roadworthy. It assesses whether a vehicle meets the minimum legal, safety, and environmental standards required to be considered roadworthy in the UK. Driving without a valid MOT UK certificate is illegal. The repercussions are just too many. You could lose days of work, pay hefty fines and penalties, be given points on your driving license, or receive a driving ban.

Vehicles three years old or more need a valid MOT certificate. For second-hand vehicles, the MOT certificate is usually carried over by the previous owner. You can renew an MOT as early as a month before the expiry date of the existing certificate without affecting your annual expiry date.

Will I be okay driving without MOT?

My car’s MOT expired, can I drive still? What happens if you drive without an MOT? Once your MOT reaches its expiration, it will be illegal for you to drive your car. It is important to remember your MOT date to check when it is due. 

When is it legal to drive without a valid MOT certificate? It is illegal to drive your car without an MOT. The only exception to this is when you drive to an MOT test centre or garage. Even when you do this, however, your car must not have any serious, dangerous faults – such will be listed on your MOT test certificate. Another important point you need to observe is when you have booked an MOT and it has expired, ensure you have proof of the appointment with you and take the most direct route possible when you travel. If the police stop you, you should show proof that you are driving to the MOT test centre.    

How Long Can I Drive Without a Valid MOT Certificate?

mot test

Some motorists think that there is a grace period regarding renewing a lapsed MOT. This is not true. Following MOT expiry law, an MOT must be renewed before it expires. An MOT certificate is valid up to midnight on the expiry date. You can only drive your car exactly on the day your MOT expires if you are driving directly to the testing centre.

Penalties for No MOT Certificate

Among the violations the police and its automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) cameras look out for are cars without an MOT. There are over 11,000 ANPR cameras across the UK, which check over 50 million records each day. When these cameras and police see on record that your car has no valid MOT, you will be pulled over or visited by the police.

You can be given a £1,000 fine for not having a valid MOT. If the vehicle’s condition is found to be dangerous, you can receive £2,500 fine if you’re driving a car or an unlimited fine if you’re driving a van. Moreover, you’ll be given three points on your driving license. The worst thing you can expect is disqualification from driving for at least six months if you were convicted of driving in a dangerous condition within the past three years.

MOT, Car Insurance, and Tax

A car that is subject to a Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN) can be back on the road and driven to a test centre. You would, however, need valid car insurance to make the travel. Vehicles can only be driven with valid insurance. You need temporary insurance to drive your car to the MOT test centre. The following steps should be followed:

  • Book an MOT test appointment for the car. You can only drive straight to this appointment.

  • You should pass your MOT and fix any issues and have the car retested.

  • Get tax for your vehicle using your MOT certificate.

  • Have your vehicle insured using your tax information.     

By law, a vehicle needs to have passed its MOT test to be taxed. Once your vehicle passes the MOT, you must immediately organise your car tax so you can drive legally.

Your car insurance will no longer be valid once your MOT has either expired or failed. If you get involved in a road traffic accident, your car insurer will not be liable to pay out on your insurance and you would need to pay for repairs of both yours and the other driver’s vehicle out of your pocket. Moreover, since you are illegally driving without car insurance, you may also receive six to eight points on your license, an unlimited fine, or a driving ban.


MOT: Keeping Your Vehicle Roadworthy

The MOT aims to minimise accidents on our roads by ensuring vehicles’ roadworthiness by meeting legal, safety, and environmental standards. In an MOT the important parts of your vehicle will be tested to make sure they meet the required standards including:

  • Brakes

  • Fuel system

  • Steering and suspension

  • Tyres and wheels

  • Exhaust emissions and system

  • Horn

  • Lights

  • Seat belts and seats

  • Wipers, washers, and windscreen

  • Mirrors 

  • Body structure

  • Bonnet

  • Doors

  • Load security

  • Registration plates

  • Vehicle identification number 

You should regularly check many of the items checked during the MOT. It will ensure that you’re up to date with your vehicle maintenance and will help your vehicle remain roadworthy.  

Wrapping It Up

Can I drive a car without MOT? Driving your car without an MOT is both dangerous and illegal. It is prudent to be on the side of the law all the time. Be sure you have a valid MOT for your vehicle to be able to drive legally in the UK. It is a no-brainer. You have everything to gain and nothing to lose.

By driving with an MOT, you’ll have better confidence and peace of mind knowing your vehicle is roadworthy and safe as it contributes to our efforts in environmental improvement.   


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