Drivers not taking MoT seriously, say police after 7,000 fines issued
Almost 7,000 motorists in Northern Ireland have been slapped with a fine for driving without an MOT in the last four years.
A Freedom of Information (FoI) request revealed that thousands of drivers continue to flout the law despite police warnings about safety and the dangers posed to other road users by unsafe vehicles.
In total, the PSNI issued 6,732 fines for driving without a valid MoT certificate since 2012.
The figures were released after a FoI request by car review website Carbuyer.
It also showed that the total fines amounted to £564,760.
The money collected from fines is sent to the Government's bank account.
The standard fixed penalty for an out-of-date MOT in Northern Ireland is £60.
In Britain it was increased from £60 to £100 in August 2013.
However, fines can go up to a maximum of £1,000 if taken to court.
Thirty-six police forces across the UK supplied figures showing the number of penalties which have been issued a a result of MOT breaches.
The PSNI was ranked in the UK's top 10 for handing out the most fines.
The fee for a standard motor car MOT is £30.50, and a retest will cost £18.50.
A poll carried out by the website found that a third of drivers said they had forgotten to renew their current MOT on time, with 15% leaving it until it was a already a month overdue.
The Driver and Vehicle Agency (DVA) here issues an automatic reminder notice seven weeks before the certificate expires - unlike Britain, where drivers have to sign up for email reminders.
The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA), which covers Britain, shares its MOT data with the police.
They in turn use automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) cameras to detect and fine drivers whose MOT has expired.
PSNI Inspector Rosie Leech said that owners had a legal obligation to ensure their vehicles were roadworthy, safe and didn't pose a danger to other drivers.
She said: "A responsible driver will ensure their vehicle is regularly serviced and is fitted with new parts as required.
"Unfortunately, not all drivers take these matters seriously so requiring them to submit their vehicle annually for a MOT is the way the Government has elected to check that all vehicles more than four years old comply with the relevant legislation, particularly in respect to brakes and emissions.
"Motorists who fail to MOT their vehicle as required run the very real risk of invalidating their insurance should they be involved in a road collision - or worse, being responsible for the death or serious injury of another road user as a result of failing to maintain their vehicle or carrying out unsafe modifications that would never pass a MOT.
"A motorist who properly registers their vehicle with the DVLA will receive a reminder notice that their MOT is due, so there's no excuse for 'forgetting' to present a vehicle for testing.
"DVA share information about vehicles that have failed to appear on the due date for MOT inspection and this allows police to enforce through issue of a £60 fixed penalty notice, which is paid directly to the Treasury.
"PSNI do not retain any of this income."