This MOT mistake could land you a £2,500 fine - even if your MOT is in date

Changes to the way MOTs work mean that even if your car or van’s old MOT is still in date, you could end up with a £2,500 fine for driving it.

Failed tests mean no more driving

The new rules, which come into force this May, alter the way vehicles are classed once they’ve had a test. At the moment, as long as if your vehicle is roadworthy and your previous MOT is still in date, you can still drive it – even if it failed its latest MOT.

But from May, as soon as your vehicle fails its MOT, it may be deemed ‘dangerous’. And, if you drive a vehicle with that classification, you could get a fine of up to £2,500 and three points on your licence.

On top of that, if you’re found driving a ‘dangerous’ vehicle more than once within a three-year period, you’ll face a ban of at least six months.

What are the current MOT rules?

At the moment, you’re not allowed to drive with an expired MOT (unless you’re taking your vehicle to its MOT test). You’ll face a £1000 fine if you’re caught doing so.

But you can get around that by having your test done as soon as your car or van becomes eligible, a month before its current MOT expires.

If your vehicle fails its MOT, but the previous certificate is still in date, you’re still legally allowed to drive it until that one expires. This gives drivers time to get repairs and retests, while being able to drive their vehicle in the meantime.

The new rules mean that this may not be an option, depending on the outcome of your MOT.

New car classifications

Under the new rules, vehicles will be placed in one of four categories after their test:

  • dangerous
  • major
  • minor
  • pass

The rules are designed to make things clearer to drivers about what is and isn’t safe to drive. However, some have suggested that the new categories aren’t clear enough. Minor defects replace advisories, while major and dangerous defects cause an immediate fail.

As well as the potential fine, points and ban for driving a ‘dangerous’ vehicle, any vehicle that fails its MOT will automatically have its information uploaded to the central database. This means the police will have access to that information when they suspect a car or van to be problematic.

These changes leave drivers with little choice but to leave their vehicle in for repairs, even if they book their MOT early, so it’s more important than ever to plan ahead when booking in for your test.

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