Fleet News

Surge of unsafe vehicles return to UK roads

London traffic

A surge of unsafe vehicles are returning the UK’s roads as Coronavirus lockdown restrictions ease, warns Aviva.

It found that more than a quarter (28%) of drivers have not performed any checks on their vehicles at all throughout lockdown.

Aviva’s research into motorists’ attitudes to driving post-lockdown reveals there could be an increase in the number of potentially dangerous vehicles on roads, with many motorists forgoing vehicle safety checks in recent months.

More than two thirds of drivers have not checked their tyre treads (68%) or engine oil levels (68%). In addition, six out of 10 (60%) haven’t tested their tyre pressures and two thirds (67%) haven’t looked at their lights.

In contrast, almost half of drivers (43%) have ensured their vehicles have looked the part by cleaning them during this time.

Sarah Applegate, head of global strategy and insight at Aviva, said: “This latest research reveals motorists’ caution about driving as lockdown conditions ease. Drivers will inevitably be using their cars more often as restrictions lift and non-essential shops start to reopen, so they should prepare for this by ensuring their vehicles are up to scratch.

“To make sure our roads stay as safe as possible, drivers should carry out basic checks before they use their cars again. If people have any concerns about their vehicles, they should ask a professional mechanic to investigate, particularly before embarking on longer journeys.

“It’s also important for drivers to make sure their insurance policy suits their future driving needs. If people are likely to use their car significantly more or less post-lockdown, or drivers need to be added or removed from policies, they should inform their insurance provider so their cover can be updated.”

Since the start of lockdown, there have been five million fewer MOT tests carried out in April and May 2020 than in the same months last year.

Any motorists with an MOT test due from March 30 have automatically been given a six-month extension as part of the Coronavirus lockdown, leaving many cars, vans and motorcycles unchecked, potentially allowing unroadworthy vehicles to be driven. 

Despite this, many drivers plan to take long journeys using their car as lockdown restrictions ease. One in five (20%) plan to use their car to travel to a holiday destination in another part of the UK in the next three months, while one in ten (10%) will use their car to drive to the countryside.

Ian Leonard, head of fleet operations at Yodel, advises fleets to check their vehicles thoroughly before returning the road.

Read his full interivew about running one of the country's largest parcel delivery fleets in the latest editon of Fleet News.

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