Police have urged drivers to ensure their vehicles have a valid MOT certificate to confirm they remain safe for the roads – and avoid prosecution.
Road policing officers involved in special operations and routine patrols across the county are currently dealing with up to 20 cases a day of cars and commercial vehicles having expired MOTs.
The majority of offenders are known to be deliberately avoiding the annual tests but the number of cases where drivers have simply forgotten when a test is due is rising steadily.
Unlike car tax and insurance, vehicle owners and operators no longer get an annual MOT reminder and it is their responsibility to remember test dates.
Adam Pipe, Casualty Reduction Manager at Essex Police, told Radio Essex: “With winter approaching it is vital that vehicles are in tip-top condition in case there are severe weather conditions.
“Tyres, brakes and lights must all be in excellent working order and these are just the sort of things that are checked in an MOT test.
“We are also having a purge on vehicles that have bulbs out because it is important that vehicles can be seen.”
Latest figures show that between October 1 2014 and October 1 2015 a total of 3,452 drivers in Essex were prosecuted for having an invalid MOT. During the same period in the previous year 4,145 drivers were prosecuted. The fine for the offence is £100.
Mr Pipe added: “The figures suggest that offences are falling as more people become aware that they face being fined but at the same time more drivers seem to forget that it is up to them to remember when tests are due.
“We are using automatic number plate recognition technology (ANPR) on more of our road policing operations and the camera can tell us instantly if a vehicle has an invalid MOT.
“I appreciate that having a current MOT is a matter of personal responsibility but there are simple steps people can take to find out when a test is due.
“You can pay for your garage to send you a reminder and there is also a Government website where you can check when a test is due.
The website can be found HERE