Slump 'forcing drivers to ignore or delay repairs'
Cash-strapped motorists are delaying essential maintenance and driving illegal cars because they can't afford the repairs, according to new research in Britain.
Around a quarter (23%) of motorists admit that their cars have a defect that renders it illegal and one in seven (14%) say their vehicle is in urgent need of repair.
The most common defect is bald tyres but other common problems include faulty brakes, broken windscreen wipers, broken or missing wing mirrors and defective brake lights.
One in five (18%) motorists have even driven cars without valid a roadworthiness certificate, although it is illegal to do so. Two -thirds of these say they did so unknowingly because they had forgotten to check the renewal date on the certificate but a third say they were aware at the time and drove the car anyway.
UK motorists caught driving a car without a valid MOT (NCT) can be given three penalty points, be fined up to £1,000, while doing so invalidates the car's insurance. Police data shows that the number of drivers caught driving cars that were not roadworthy increased in 2011 by four per cent across the UK.
The most common recorded offence is driving with defective tyres, followed by driving a vehicle that is in a 'dangerous' condition. Other common offences include driving a car that has defective brakes or defective steering.
The research shows that there are seven million cars currently on the road that are illegal to drive as a result of certain defects. One in five (21%) drivers do not realise they are breaking the law by driving a vehicle that has a defective brake light and a similar number (19%) are unaware that it's an offence to drive with faulty brakes.
Likewise, 15 per cent of drivers believe it is not illegal to drive a car that has bald tyres. These defects not only render the car illegal to drive but could also endanger those travelling in the car.
On average, drivers now delay fixing these common faults for over four months, with one in seven (13%) taking six months. The reason for the delay is primarily down to cost. Two fifths (40%) of drivers say it's just too expensive to repair their car and a quarter (24%) of drivers don't see the repairs as urgent, as their car still 'gets from A to B'.
According to the study by Brittanica Rescue, this problem is worst among younger drivers, with a quarter of those aged 18 to 34 years driving a car in need of repair compared to just five per cent of those over 55.