Stricter new rules around MOTs are being rolled out across the country next month and could see drivers facing a fine of up to £2,500 if they are caught breaking any of them. The new fines cover areas such as not having a valid MOT certificate in place or not reaching new MOT standards, particularly around failing to reach new emissions standards from diesel cars.

The new rules will start to take effect on May 20th, but the worrying thing is that most drivers are not aware of the forthcoming changes, nor are they aware of the massive increase in fines for non-compliance of the new rules that are coming into place.

Complicated rules

At the beginning of this year, we reported on a series of new measures put into place as part of the new MOT system that could catch out drivers. Now the rules are set to become law; drivers aren’t entirely aware of the new fine print that could end up costing them a lot of money, which can be up to £2,500 in some cases.

One example is putting your car in for the MOT early. If you put your car in for an MOT before it is due, and the vehicle fails, you could face a hefty fine if you continue to drive the car, despite the fact that the original MOT certificate still has a period left to run. That’s because if the car doesn’t get through the tighter new MOT rules, then it will no longer be classed as road legal, regardless of an existing MOT certificate or not.

The new rules starting in May will also include points on the licence and even a driving ban for drivers who are caught breaking them, which is unprecedented. Quite how this will be policed has not been made clear by the Government, and the Police have not indicated whether they would chase evaders from breaking the new MOT rules.

New confusing defect types

The new, more complex MOT rules also include a new series of defect types – dangerous, major and minor. There are also more strict rules on emissions for diesel cars, while cars that are 40 years or older could become MOT exempt.

RAC spokesman, Simon Williams, said “rather than MOTs being a straightforward black and white system of pass or fail, the new defect types could create confusion for drivers and testers. Each tester will have to use their judgement as to whether a defect is dangerous, major or minor and this could lead to differences from one garage to another.”

The types could also confuse drivers, especially between the dangerous and major fault categories. In the current system, if a car has a fault that means it fails the MOT, then it must be repaired before being used again. But under the new test, a vehicle with dangerous or major fault will automatically fail.

And, a minor fault on a diesel car could end up being a major one simply because of the fuel type. Any minor defects will be listed on the MOT certificate alongside the existing advisory notices system for things that the driver may want to get fixed before they deteriorate.

More tests

The new MOT rules also include yet more stress for diesel drivers with the introduction of more stringent regulations around emission testing. A diesel car can face an automatic fail if there is any smoke emitted from the exhaust in some cases. The diesel particulate filters or DPFs will also be checked, and if these are missing or altered, then the car will automatically be failed.

Other harsher tests revolve around the lights on the car. Reverse, front fog, and daytime running lights have all now been included as part of the MOT test. Reversing lights were introduced on inspections from September 2009 while daytime running lights were first added to tests in March this year. Front fog lights were also added last month.

Other tests being introduced next month include:

  • Obviously underinflated tyres
  • Contaminated brake fluid
  • Fluid leaks that pose an environmental risk
  • Warning lights for brake pads or if brake pads or discs are missing
  • You can sign up for a free text alert to remind you when your MOT is due which will tell you again if you haven’t had your car tested two weeks before the certificate runs out. You will need your number plate, mobile number or email address to sign up for this new service and avoid the chance of a fine for having no MOT in place.

    What do you think of the new MOT rules? Are you as confused as we are about the changes? Do you think these fines are enforceable or will it go the way of the £75 million in missing road tax each year and very few fines? Let us know in the comments.

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