More than a quarter of vehicles late for MOT, figures show

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More than a quarter of Britain's cars are overdue vital road safety checks, new figures show.

Some 28% of vehicles are late for their MOT and two-thirds of those are at least a week behind schedule, according to the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA).

The agency has launched a free Get MOT Reminders service enabling drivers to receive a text message or email four weeks before their car's MOT is due.

Motorists can be fined up to £1,000 if they are caught driving a car without a valid MOT certificate. The test costs a maximum of £54.85.

Transport minister Baroness Sugg accepted that booking an MOT is "easy to overlook" but insisted they play an important role in "making sure the vehicles on our roads are safe and meeting high environmental standards".

She added: "Getting a text or email will serve as a useful prompt to make sure people get their vehicle checked in time."

New vehicles must undergo the test on the third anniversary of their registration and every 12 months if they are over three years old.

A number of parts are checked during MOTs to ensure they meet safety standards, such as lights, seatbelts, tyres and brakes.

Twenty-eight people were killed and 413 were seriously injured in accidents on Britain's roads last year when a vehicle defect was a contributory factor.

DVSA chief executive Gareth Llewellyn urged motorists to "check your vehicle all year round" to avoid its condition causing a crash.

Research conducted by the agency found about three-quarters of motorists who book an MOT late had forgotten when it was due.

Stuart James, director of automotive trade body the Retail Motor Industry Federation, said: "The number of consumers forgetting to MOT their vehicles means that a great many of these are unintentionally breaking the law.

"We are pleased that the DVSA has developed such a valuable service that will support road safety and help consumers in their busy lives."