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08/02/2021 News

Total UK survey finds nine million drivers don’t know when their next MOT is due

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The pandemic has affected all aspects of our everyday lives and has caused many unforeseen issues – including the nation’s motoring habits.

A survey by Total UK has found that some nine million* UK drivers (28% of all drivers) do not know when their MOT is due. As lockdown restrictions continue, it has become apparent that many drivers are confused regarding the status of their vehicles – a cause of concern for drivers, garages, and law enforcement.

 

A crisis of confusion 

According to a survey of 1,292 drivers by Total UK, millions are at risk of being fined because they are not sure when their MOT needs to be renewed.

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This confusion is likely caused by the MOT extension scheme which was implemented in March last year. The policy advised drivers in England, Scotland, and Wales that they would be granted an extra six months to their existing MOT certificate if they had a test due after 30th March 2020.

However, this has left many drivers puzzled and resulted in an increase in demand for MOT services this Winter. The extension meant that tests would not be due until 30th September 2020 at the earliest, which has resulted in an extreme backlog and long waiting times at garages and test centres.

 

Everyone needs an MOT – but many drivers still don’t get one 

MOT tests help ensure your car is safe, roadworthy, and will identify any issues that need to be fixed for your vehicle to run in accordance with the law. An MOT is an annual, legal requirement and is an essential part of car maintenance that can only be performed by a qualified mechanic.

Yet despite this, the survey has shown that one in four say they worry about their MOT in case it shows there is something wrong with their car. In addition, almost one in five drivers (17%) admit to having driven their car knowing there was something wrong with it.

 

Drivers are unaware of the legal consequences 

The survey has also shown that many drivers are not aware what the penalties are for failing to get their car’s MOT on schedule. Some 53% of drivers believe that the fine for not getting an MOT certificate is three points on their driving licence.

This is incorrect, however. Once your MOT certificate is expired, you can be fined up to £1,000 for driving and your vehicle can be impounded. The only legal journey you can make is the singular trip to the garage for a pre-booked MOT appointment.

 

Older motorists are less likely to know when their MOT is due 

The survey has shown that drivers over the age of 55 are the worst age group for not knowing when their next MOT is due. A third (33%) admitted to not knowing when their current MOT certificate expires, which means that older motorists are more likely to break the law if they drive their vehicle without a valid MOT. Gen Z, however, are more hands-on with their car maintenance as 7 out of 10 17–24-year-olds have checked their oil within the last month, compared to just half of over-55s.

 

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Insurance issues are also prevalent 

Many drivers are also failing to insure their vehicle properly. Four in ten (39%) surveyed wrongly believe that their car does not need to be insured if it is stored on the drive or in the garage.

Additionally, 17% of drivers believe they only need insurance if they are driving their vehicle, but it’s important to note that, unless you have made a Statutory Off Road Notification, your vehicle needs to be insured at all times.

 

There is a regional rift when it comes to MOT preparedness 

Across England, results in the North and South differed entirely. Drivers in Bristol were the least likely to know when their MOT is due, with four out of ten admitting they do not know when it is up for renewal.

By contrast, drivers in the North of England were the most prepared for their annual vehicle health check. In Newcastle, nine out of ten drivers knew when their next MOT was due.

 

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TOTAL UK’s MOT advice for motorists 

John Ryder, general manager of Total Lubricants’ UK Blending Plant, said: “The past year has certainly been one of great uncertainty and it seems this has extended to people not knowing when their MOT is due. Since the beginning of the first lockdown, people have been driving a lot less due to increased home working and less commuting so their cars and maintenance requirements, including getting their MOT done, have not been front of mind.”

“The confusion stems from the MOT extension scheme which was introduced in March last year as lockdown restrictions limited people’s movements to all but essential travel. However, it is important that drivers do not miss their MOT to ensure their car insurance remains valid, that vehicles are roadworthy and meet the necessary standards.”

The MOT extension scheme has now ended and despite the latest lockdown, Total UK is advising drivers to check when their MOT is due and make sure to book in an appointment, sooner rather than later.

To support you with your car maintenance, Total UK have produced a collection of guides such as how to store your car for one to three months, how to service your car at home, and how to change your car oil. You can find further advice in our DIY Servicing Hub or contact our experts for more information.