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Driving without an MOT – what are the consequences for businesses?

3-minute read

MOT test centre
Conor Shilling

Conor Shilling

6 October 2023

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Whether it’s for a few days or just a few hours, driving without an MOT can be costly for businesses.

Not only could it be dangerous, but your insurance policy could be invalid. There are also punishments, including bans and fines, for driving a vehicle without an MOT.

Read our guide to find out the consequences of driving without an MOT and the few circumstances where it is allowed.

What is an MOT test?

A Ministry of Transport (MOT) test is an annual check up for vehicles that are more than three years old.

An MOT is designed to check things like the engine and braking systems to make sure a vehicle is road safe.

Read our MOT checklist for more information on how the tests work and what you need to do to prepare your vehicle.

Can you drive a car without an MOT?

In the vast majority of cases, the answer is no. However, there are two exceptions:

  • if you’re driving to a garage or test centre for an MOT test
  • if you’re driving to a garage for minor repairs highlighted during a recent MOT

That’s why it’s so important to book your MOT in good time and remember the date so you don’t miss your test. Not sure when your next MOT is due? You can check on the government website.

Is it illegal to drive without an MOT?

As soon as your MOT expires (from midnight on the date of expiry), it’s illegal to drive the vehicle apart from in the exceptions mentioned above.

It’s important to note that if you’re driving to a garage without an MOT, you can’t take detours to do other things.

If you’re pulled over by the police, you’ll need to be able to show evidence of your appointment at the garage and that you’re taking the most direct route.

How long can you drive without an MOT?

You can't drive without a valid MOT unless you're driving directly to a pre-booked test or to get minor repairs done.

If your business vehicle fails its MOT with no major issues, you could drive it if your previous year’s MOT is still valid. This would only happen if you booked your test a few weeks ahead of your existing MOT expiring.

Can I drive my car without an MOT if it’s booked in for a test?

You can only drive your vehicle without an MOT if you’re going to get it tested or repaired.

If the vehicle that you drive for work has failed an MOT test due to a dangerous defect, it’s illegal to drive and shouldn’t be allowed to leave the garage until it’s been repaired.

Vehicles that are being driven without an MOT can be picked up by Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras, which could lead to their drivers being pulled over or visited at home by the police.

What is the penalty for no MOT?

If you’re found to be driving a business vehicle illegally with no MOT, you could be given a £1,000 fine. If the vehicle has failed an MOT test due to a dangerous defect, you could also receive:

  • a £2,500 fine if you’re driving a car
  • an unlimited fine if you’re driving a van

You’ll usually have 28 days to pay a fine for not having an MOT. If you fail to pay the fine in this period, it could be registered with the courts, with the amount you owe potentially increased by up to 50 per cent.

On top of this, you could receive three points on your driving licence for driving a vehicle that has no MOT and has been classified as dangerous. Plus, if you’ve previously been convicted of driving a vehicle in a dangerous condition in the previous three years, you could be banned for driving for a minimum of six months.

If driving a vehicle is an important part of your business, getting caught without a valid MOT could be damaging towards its smooth running as well as your reputation.

Can a car with no MOT be parked on the road?

Even if you’re not planning to drive it, your business vehicle can’t be parked on the road if it doesn’t have a valid MOT.

In this scenario, you’d need to park it somewhere private such as a driveway, garage, or paid storage location.

Is car insurance still valid without an MOT?

If your vehicle doesn’t have a valid MOT, this could also invalidate your insurance. Most motor insurance policies are based on the vehicle being roadworthy. Any vehicle without an MOT is considered unsafe for the road, so its insurance is likely to be void.

If you’re in an accident while driving without an MOT, you may not be able to claim on insurance and could be liable to pay for repairs to all the vehicles involved, as well as any medical or legal costs.

On top of this, you could be fined or banned for driving a car without valid insurance.

Read our guide on fines for driving without insurance for more information.

Do you have any unanswered questions on driving without an MOT? Let us know in the comments below.

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Conor Shilling

Written by

Conor Shilling

Conor Shilling is a professional writer with over 10 years’ experience across the property, small business, and insurance sectors. A trained journalist, Conor’s previous experience includes writing for several leading online property trade publications. Conor has worked at Simply Business as a Copywriter for three years, specialising in the buy-to-let market, landlords, and small business finance.

We create this content for general information purposes and it should not be taken as advice. Always take professional advice. Read our full disclaimer

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