More than four million motorists could be at risk of driving illegally and being stung with £1,000 fines this autumn because their MOT certificate has expired and they can’t get a test in time.
A flood of car owners are expected to inundate garages to make bookings from the end of next month as those who opted to take the Government’s six-month coronavirus test extension are due to have their vehicles checked.
The exemption – which was introduced on 30 March and came to an end on 1 August – has caused a dramatic rise in the number of motors needed a new MOT certificate in the next three months.
Kwik Fit says 11.3million cars have expiring MOT certificates in September, October and November – but there will not be enough bookings to go around.
Unprecedented demand: Millions of cars have expiring MOTs in September, October and November
The vehicle servicing firm’s own records show that two in five of owners book an MOT with three days or less of the car’s certificate expiring.
The swell in demand for tests is predicted to double in the coming months due to the unprecedented combination of scheduled MOTs and those who took out the six-month extension from the start of lockdown.
With motorists leaving it late to arrange tests, Kwik Fit says many garages will be booked up well in advance throughout the next three months, leaving 4.3million drivers with vehicles with invalid MOT certificates during that period.
If caught illegally driving a motor without an MOT, these drivers will be fined £1,000.
Kwik Fit has also analysed the number of vehicles needing tests across the country in proportion to the number of MOT test centres in each location, to show where appointments may be most scarce.
If caught illegally driving a motor without an MOT, these drivers will be fined £1,000
Its analysis found that drivers in Reading, Dumfries, Paisley, Swindon and Sheffield are likely to find it hardest to secure an available MOT appointment at short notice.
Indeed, in Reading there will be nearly three times as many vehicles needing an MOT per test centre as there will be in Blackburn, the location where drivers will be best served, as it has the lowest number of tests required per centre.
Roger Griggs, communications director at Kwik Fit, said: ‘The MoT is a vital safety check, but it is something that many drivers leave to the last minute to sort out and in previous years that has left some car owners driving without an MoT.
‘The impact of COVID-19 and the MOT extension will make this problem much worse as finding available MoT appointments at short notice will be a lot trickier over the coming months.’