Motorists are waiting longer to sort an MOT renewal than this time last year, following government extensions related to the coronavirus pandemic.

Data from the country’s biggest MOT tester Kwik Fit shows that nine per cent of motorists who booked an MOT in the past six months waited more than three weeks after their existing MOT expired. This compares with just three per cent in the same period of the previous year.

Despite this, there has also been an increase in the number of people planning ahead, with those booking an MOT more than five weeks in advance also tripling.

Driving without an MOT risks a fine of up to £1,000, while if you caught behind the wheel of a car deemed ‘dangerous’ by an MOT test, you could get a fine of up to £2,500, be banned from driving and get three penalty points.

Meanwhile, driving without an MOT appears to be high on the average motorists’ list of pet peeves. A survey of 2,002 UK adults found 26 per cent of car owners believe the authorities should be allowed to impound cars that are caught being driven without an MOT.

Furthermore, 14 per cent think those stopped in a car with an expired MOT should be banned for six months, and 12 per cent think fines should be available up to £2,000.

Roger Griggs, communications director at Kwik Fit, said: “It may be a result of the MOT extension or people having greater flexibility of when to book their MOT but the booking pattern has become much more spread out. We are seeing many more drivers plan in advance, and get their MOT sorted well ahead of its expiry, which is great news.

“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.”

During the coronavirus pandemic, the government set out an MOT extension period to give motorists more time to organise their renewal as well as encouraging people to stay home where possible. However, these extensions have now passed and motorists should sort renewals ahead of their expiry date to avoid driving illegally.

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