Drivers warned they could still be prosecuted if their vehicle is untaxed with MOT backlog

Martin Lewis reveals how to get a 'really cheap' MOT test

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A valid MOT is required to tax a vehicle, but many drivers have been struggling to book a test and have been waiting for months for an appointment. It has been reported that exceptions have been made to allow people to keep driving without an MOT, although this has led to confusion over whether or not people can drive without tax while waiting for an MOT.

The Drivers and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA), which is responsible for vehicle tax, said enforcement action can still be taken.

MOT tests in Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK have seen massive delays over the past two years on the account of the coronavirus pandemic.

There were also some issues with safety equipment in Northern Ireland which led to the suspension of car MOTs from January 2020.

Testing resumed fully in July 2021 but a significant backlog had developed, creating delays in the booking system.

The Department for Infrastructure and Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) have agreed not to prosecute motorists for driving without an MOT.

This was on the condition that they can show proof that a future test is booked and their vehicle is roadworthy and not subject to a statutory off-road notification (SORN).

Despite this, the DVLA said the only time an untaxed vehicle can be used on the road is if it is being driven to or away from a pre-arranged MOT.

A spokesperson for the DVLA said: “Where a vehicle has not been taxed and the keeper has not declared it off the road (SORN) we can take enforcement action.

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“Also if an untaxed or SORN vehicle is seen on the public road, enforcement action can be taken.”

People can be prosecuted for being the keeper of an untaxed vehicle and also for driving one, which the DVLA can identify through their systems or if a report is made to them.

If enforced, drivers could risk fines of up to £2,500.

According to the BBC, PSNI officers do not prosecute for the offence of having an untaxed vehicle but they can make a referral to DVLA if they detect an untaxed or SORNed vehicle being used or kept on a public road.

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