The number of cars that have missed their MOT test expiry by more than three weeks has tripled during the last six months.
Kwik Fit's latest MOT data shows that one-in-eleven drivers (9%) booking their MOT test in the last half year only did so three or more weeks after their current MOT had run out, compared to a figure of just 3% in the whole of 2019.
There has also been a similar increase in the number of drivers planning ahead, however, with Kwik Fit stating that the number of drivers booking their test five or more weeks in advance of their expiry date has also tripled.
Roger Griggs, communications director at Kwik Fit, said: “Unfortunately, we are also seeing a big increase in owners not getting their car tested until three or more weeks after it has become illegal to drive.
“This is especially dangerous at the moment as people will not have been driving their cars as much over the last year.
“As a result, any safety issues may not be as apparent to them as they would be with more frequent use of their car.”
MOT extensions granted in response to the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic’s first lockdown period, and additional flexibility offered to motorists, could be to blame for the trend.
A Freedom of Information (FOI) request to the DVSA by BookMyGarage.com, found that more than four million motorists delayed having their car MOT tested between April and June last year.
One in eleven vehicles fail MOTs due to dangerous faults, according to the MOT and service price comparison site, meaning hundreds of thousands of motorists that opted for the MOT extension could have been driving a car with a dangerous fault last year.
“Many motorists have put off getting vehicles serviced and even repaired” commented Karen Rotberg, Co-Founder of BookMyGarage.com.
“This hasn’t presented much of a problem in recent months since millions of people have only used their cars for short and essential trips. But, with lockdown restrictions easing, now is the time to catch-up on any missed maintenance.”
Kwik-Fit’s data on late MOTs comes in spite of a survey which suggests many motorists believe there should be tougher penalties for those who fail to have their vehicles MOT carried out in a timely fashion.
Research among 2,002 motorists, carried out for Kwik Fit by Opinium Research, found that 26% of car owners think the authorities should have the powers to impound a car if it is being driven without a valid MOT.
This figure rises to more than a third (35%) of people in Yorkshire and the Humber.
Kwik-Fit said that 14% of respondents indicated that those stopped in a car with an expired MOT should face a driving ban of at least six months, while 12% think that the courts should be able to impose fines of up to £2,000.