Fleet News

Risk of 1.1 million unroadworthy vehicles returning to the roads, according to Kwik Fit

New research by Kwik Fit has revealed that almost 1.1 million unroadworthy vehicles are set to return to the roads as lockdown begins to ease.

The research found that an estimated 1,096,000 vehicles which would have received a six-month MOT extension, would have failed a test with dangerous or major defects had they undergone a MOT. Of these unroadworthy vehicles, it is estimated that some 316,000 would have dangerous defects, while the remaining 780,000 vehicles would fail with major defects.

The research also found that only 24% of vehicles that were originally due a MOT test has been tested since March 30, where vehicles were provided an automatic six-month extension to its expiry date. 49% of drivers who have received, or are due to receive a MOT extension, will go to the end of that period without getting their car tested.

Roger Griggs, communications director at Kwik Fit, said: “It has been interesting to see that many drivers have still had their car MOTed despite receiving an extension, because they want the reassurance a test provides.

“The extension has been very helpful to drivers during the lockdown, but as Covid-19 prevention measures begin to ease, we urge the government to remove the automatic extension in order to prevent dangerous and illegal cars taking to the roads unchecked.”

Kwik Fit analysed the latest Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) data, along with its own statistics.

Kwik Fit says that many drivers will be knowingly driving an unsafe vehicle, as 8% of those who will wait for the end of the extension to get their vehicle tested, said they will do so as they believe there is something wrong with their vehicle and do not want to risk it failing. One in five drivers are waiting to the end of the extension to save money.

Griggs said: “Our research found that the most common reason people were giving for going to the end of the extension without a test was that they ‘knew their car was safe’. Unfortunately, our experience shows that many people who think their car is safe are driving a vehicle with dangerous or major defects – the physical MOT test is a vital way to help ensure the safety of those drivers, and the other road users around them.”

Most drivers (71%) would like the government to end the MOT extension now. A third of drivers (31%) in Kwik Fit’s study said they want the extension to be stopped immediately, with a further 19% saying when traffic gets to a quarter of normal levels and 20% saying when it gets to half the usual volume. Government data shows that traffic returned to 50% of normal levels on May 15. 

Fewer than one in five drivers (18%) think that the government should keep the MOT extension in place until vehicle use gets back to previous levels. Those who have had their car tested, or will do so, despite receiving an extension, are more than twice as likely to believe that the extension should be stopped immediately, compared to those who will not get their car tested until the end of  extension period (42% compared to 20%).

Kwik Fit’s research found that those who have had their car tested, irrespective of the extension, have been driving more miles under lockdown than the average (27.2 miles compared to 20.4 miles). Kwik Fit says this could indicate that those drivers needing to make more journeys value the peace of mind a MOT provides regarding their car’s condition.

The law requires vehicle owners to keep their vehicles roadworthy, even if they have received a MOT extension.

Kwik Fit advises that any driver concerned about the condition of their car shouldn’t wait for their next MOT, they can visit a Kwik Fit centre for a vehicle safety check.

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