More than 15 million people may be driving cars that are not road-safe, a new survey has found.

The shocking discovery estimates that of the 41 million cars registered in the UK, as many as 15.6 million may not be in a fit state to drive.

The research found that one in five drivers were unaware of the legal requirements for their vehicles, including having a regular MOT.

Conducted by MOT service provider, Fixter, the study found that 19 per cent of drivers believed an MOT was dependent on mileage, while 16 per cent thought it was only required every two to four years.

This is despite UK law dictating that driving a vehicle without a valid MOT could lead to a £1,000 fine and points on your licence.

Introduced in 1960, MOTs are a legally required service to ensure vehicle safety, from checking brake and fuel systems to seatbelts, lights and exhausts. Unlike an MOT, servicing is not legally required, however, vehicle providers recommend a service every 12,000 miles or annually.

Limvirak Chea, Co-Founder and CEO, Fixter, said: “Given how many in the UK rely on their car for daily trips, it’s shocking to see such a huge knowledge gap when it comes to keeping vehicles road safe.

"What’s clear from our findings is that drivers need to be educated on the importance of MOTs and servicing, regardless of how many years they’ve been on the road."

DVSA MOT reminder service

The DVSA MOT reminder service, which launched in 2017, sends prompts to drivers one month before their MOT is due, reminding them to take their vehicle for a test on time.

In new changes to the DVSA MOT reminder service, which launched this week, drivers will no longer get unnecessary reminders for vehicles they no longer own. Instead, we’ll prompt them to update their reminder to their new vehicle.

The DVSA says the changes will improve the experience for drivers signed up to the service, as well as keeping vehicles on the roads safe to drive.

How you can avoid MOT fines

Find out when your MOT is due

As soon as your car hits three years-old, it will need an MOT before its birthday each year.

You can easily check when your MOT is due using your number plate on GOV.UK.

You can undertake your MOT test up to a month (minus a day) before its expiry date while still preserving its annual due date.

Set up a reminder

Simply set a reminder on your email calendar - or in Great Britain, you can sign up online to get a free text or email reminder one month before your vehicle’s MOT is due.

In Northern Ireland you’ll get a letter in the post seven weeks before your MOT is due.

Create a car contingency account

Cars are expensive – there’s no denying that – and MOTs can throw up unexpected repair costs in order to pass.

It’s a good idea to set up a car contingency savings account; putting aside a little each month to spread the costs and make sure you can afford any unexpected nasty surprises.

Shop around for your MOT

Just as you should shop around for a cheaper premium on your car insurance, you can also compare prices for your MOT.

The maximum price of an MOT is £54.85 for a car and £29.65 for a standard motorcycle.

But many garages will offer it cheaper than this – especially if bought in conjunction with your regular servicing.