Over the last six months, the number of cars that have missed their MOT test expiry by more than three weeks has tripled.

The latest MOT data from Kwik Fit's shows that one in eleven drivers (9%) booking their MOT test in the last half year only did so three or more weeks after their current MOT had run out, compared to a figure of just 3% in the whole of 2019.

However, a similar increase can be seen in the number of drivers planning ahead, with Kwik Fit stating that the number of drivers booking their test five or more weeks in advance of their expiry date has also tripled.

Roger Griggs, communications director at Kwik Fit, said: “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”.

A possible explanation for this rising trend is MOT extensions granted in response to the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic’s first lockdown period and additional flexibility offered to motorists.

A Freedom of Information (FOI) request to the DVSA by BookMyGarage.com, found that more than four million motorists delayed having their car MOT tested between April and June last year.

It also discovered that one in eleven vehicles fail MOTs due to dangerous faults, so hundreds of thousands of motorists that opted for the MOT extension could have been driving a car with a dangerous fault last year.

Karen Rotberg, Co-Founder of BookMyGarage.com commented: “Many motorists have put off getting vehicles serviced and even repaired”.

“This hasn’t presented much of a problem in recent months since millions of people have only used their cars for short and essential trips. But, with lockdown restrictions easing, now is the time to catch-up on any missed maintenance”.

Kwik-Fit’s data on late MOTs clashes with a survey that’s findings were many motorists believe there should be tougher penalties for those who fail to have their vehicles MOT carried out in a timely fashion.

The research, which covered around 2,002 motorists, found that 26% of car owners think the authorities should have the powers to impound a car if it is being driven without a valid MOT.

This figure rises to more than a third (35%) of people in Yorkshire and the Humber.

Kwik-Fit said that 14% of respondents indicated that those stopped in a car with an expired MOT should face a driving ban of at least six months, while 12% think that the courts should be able to impose fines of up to £2,000.