Thursday 21st November 2013
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The question many motorists ask is, does it really matter if I drive my car without an MoT?

Also, what happens if I take my car for an MoT before the previous one has lapsed and it fails? In this case, you may wonder if your MoT failure has caused the old MoT certificate to become invalid, even if it's still in date?

Once you have a failed MoT, your car should not be driven unless you are taking it from the test center to the garage to be fixed. You need to be able to prove the test center cannot fix the vehicle onsite once the MoT has failed.

Failed MoT consequences

If your car does not have an MoT certificate, or it is invalid then the consequences are clear and severe if you get stopped by the police. The police can prosecute and issue a fine; furthermore, your insurance could also be invalid.

The UK law clearly states that all vehicles require a valid MoT certificate. If you do not posses this document, you will not be able to acquire car insurance. A failed MoT, whether the test has been undertaken early or not, clearly makes any vehicle potentially unsafe. This makes that vehicle legally dangerous to other road users and pedestrians.

The law states that if your current MoT has run out, you must immediately have your car tested. As stated, your vehicle is illegal to drive without a valid MoT certificate, even if it is one day overdue.

Should your MoT certificate run out today and your MoT test date is today; what happens if it fails? Your car should not be driven until it is fixed and you are issued with a brand-new MoT certificate. The car should preferably be repaired back at the test centre immediately.

However, if the test centre doesn't do repairs, which is quite unlikely, you can legally take your car to an alternative garage to get the car repaired. Once the car has been fixed, the car must be re-tested as soon as possible. To get the re-test for free this would normally have to be done within a set number of days i.e. 10 days.

When your current MoT certificate is still valid and you want an early MoT, the law states you have one month prior to its expiry date. In theory, this should give you enough time to repair and pass the car before the certificate runs out.

Police responsibilities

However, there is a catch. A failed MoT, whether done on time or early means you should not drive the car. The law considers any vehicle with a failed MoT dangerous even if it is a minor fault. The police could still prosecute drivers driving a car that has failed an MoT even though the old MoT certificate is still valid until its expiry date.

We are in an age where vehicle databases are being regularly updated and are now monitoring our roads giving police the latest data on vehicles. Police cars are fitted with vehicle registration technology that can read a registration number and indicate very quickly if the vehicle does not have an MoT, or insurance. These cameras are also fitted on our roads throughout the UK and are able to alert police very quickly.

The penalty for driving a car without an MoT is not too severe if dealt with fast and the vehicle passes within 7 days from being pulled over. Points are not issued on the drivers license for driving with a failed MoT, however a judge can fine you up to £1000 if a summons is issued and the matter goes to court. What is worth noting is the fact that 3 points can be issued if the police do find specific problems with the vehicle such as faulty brakes, or lights.

Your responsibilities

So, the normal procedure would be to have your car MoT'd 30 days prior to the previous one running out. If it passes you can get the garage to forward date it to the time when the current one runs out. If it fails, then you have 30 days to get the problems fixed before the previous certificate becomes invalid. You can also get the garage to forward date the certificate once it passes.

Under no circumstances, should anyone drive their car other than for repairs; this includes an early failed MoT. Should you drive and have an accident, then there is a risk of prosecution. This implies a heavy fine, points on a license, or even imprisonment.