A third of motorists have driven a car knowing it has no MoT, according to a survey by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).
The results were based on 1,000 UK motorists and found that, of those that have driven a car without a valid MoT, 67% admitted driving for up to a week before the retest, 24% for up to a month, 7% for up to six months and 2% for more than six months.
Drivers risk a fine of up to £1,000 and invalidating their motor insurance by driving a car with no MoT.
The research suggests men are more likely to continue driving after their MoT has lapsed – 35% of all male drivers say they have done so, versus 31% of female drivers.
There are significant regional differences in the findings. The East Midlands topped the table for remembering to carry out a car’s MoT, with just 15% of motorists in the region saying they have driven a car without a valid MoT.
At the opposite end of the spectrum, drivers in the South West were most likely to drive without an MoT, with 41% admitting to forgetting.
The data also suggests that younger motorists are worst at remembering the test date, with 39% of drivers aged 18-24 saying they have continued to drive after the MoT had expired.
The most diligent motorists were 45-54 year-olds, with only 28% saying the same.
The SMMT is teaming up with Motor Codes to offer car owners a free MoT reminder service through www.passmymot.co.uk. The service will send motorists a reminder every year before their MoT test is due.
The SMMT research has been carried out in partnership with car manufacturers and their dealer networks throughout the UK as part of its 'Minute Or Two' initiative, which encourages motorists to carry out 10 visual checks of their vehicle prior to the MoT test.
The full checklist is included on www.passmymot.co.uk.
Mike Baunton, SMMT interim chief executive, said: “Each year, a significant proportion of motorists forget their car's MOT, risking safety, fines and penalty points.
"Manufacturer main dealers are the best place to go to be sure of the most highly-trained technicians, using the parts manufacturers recommend along with the best diagnostic equipment.
"With more than 5,500 dealers across the UK carrying out free pre-MoT checks, along with an MoT reminder service run by Motor Codes, we are helping drivers to avoid basic MoT test fails by spotting simple-to-fix problems before the MOT lapses."
Sue Robinson, NFDA Director, said, "The statistics show that a number of motorists are driving vehicles without a valid MoT, which could result in genuine safety risks to them and other road users.
"For the motorist, a visit to their local franchised dealer will ensure the highest standard of customer care, in-depth training and knowledge of the vehicle and that their car meets all safety and legal requirements."
By region – percentage of motorists that have ever driven a car without a valid MoT
East Midlands 14.6%
South East 24.0%
North East 25.6%
Yorkshire and the Humber 27.4%
East Anglia 27.7%
North West 34.8%
West Midlands 35.6%
Northern Ireland 36.8%
South West 40.5%
By gender – percentage of motorists that have ever driven a car without a valid MoT