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Defective Vehicles

You may not have realised that your vehicle is defective or you may have had no choice other than to drive a defective vehicle (defective car). Whatever the reason, being caught doing so can be a stressful and worrying experience. No matter what your circumstances are, get in touch and we can start advising and helping you straight away.


The Vehicle Defect Rectification Scheme (VDRS) was introduced by police forces in the mind 1980s to ensure that vehicle faults that are noted by the police are rectified. It can be applied to:

  • Cars
  • Small goods vehicles
  • Motorcycles
  • Caravans
  • Trailers

Evidence that your vehicle has passed an MOT test is not a sufficient defence. It is NOT a guarantee that the vehicle will remain roadworthy until the time of its next MOT.

VDRS provides you with the opportunity to avoid prosecution by fixing your vehicle defects.

 The Law

In the eyes of the law as the driver of a vehicle you are responsible for ensuring that the vehicle is roadworthy. Legislation states that your vehicle has to be free of defects and that all motor vehicles are of the same safe standard. The Police will stop you and inspect your vehicle if they have any reason to believe that your vehicle does not meet these standards.

If you have been stopped and advised that your vehicle has a minor defect you will be issued with a VDRS notice , whereby you will need to fix any defect noted by the police and provide official evidence the defect has been fixed (from an MOT test centre) within 14 days. If you fail to do this within 14 days you will be penalised and face prosecution, a fine and points on your license. Examples of minor defects are:

  • Blown bulbs/ Faulty lights
  • An Overworn tyre
  • Illegal number plate

Driving a vehicle with major defects is a serious offence and can result in harsh penalties. A major defect is classed as something which poses a serious safety risk to you, the driver, and other users of the road. If you are found to be driving a vehicle with a serious defect you will be issued with a prohibition notice that prevents you from using the vehicle anymore and you will face a large fine and points on your licence or prosecution depending on your individual circumstances.

Common Types of Vehicle Defects


If you are driving with defective tyres you are endangering yourself and other drivers and pedestrians on the road. Worn tyres affect your vehicles ability to grip the road sufficiently and results in hindered steering, braking and acceleration. Be aware that if more than one tyre is defective, you can be charged and penalised separately for each.

Faulty lights

A faulty light is a common discovery made by mechanics when carrying out an MOT test. The Highway Code states that lights must be kept clean and in full working order to ensure the driver can see when driving at night or in more severe weather conditions and that your vehicle is visible to other drivers. Test your lights, be aware of the dangers and keep spare bulbs in the vehicle in case of emergencies.

Faulty brakes

It is your responsibility to make sure that your brakes work correctly and pose no risk to the safety of you, your passengers or the general public. Only one part of your braking system on the defective car has to be proven as faulty for you to be found guilty of driving a defective vehicle, whereupon you will be penalised with an addition of 3 points to your driving licence and a substantial fine.


Being ignorant of any vehicle defect is not a legally acceptable defence. If you claim to be unaware of any failings on you vehicle, it will not reduce your penalty. You are responsible for your vehicle and therefore it is expected that you carry out regular safety checks to ensure that your vehicle is safe and roadworthy. Don’t bury your head in the sand and just assume that your car is fine!

The Importance of Legal Advice

If you have been charged with driving a defective car (vehicle) and are facing a penalty we can help you. You case may appear straightforward but can become more complex as it progresses, at Hammond Trotter we are experts in driving defences and have years of experience to help you achieve the best possible outcome.

Should you require further advice to what is found on here please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Alternatively, feel free to give us a call (Manchester & North) 0161 839 5117 or (London & South) on 020 7903 5114.