MOTORISTS are being urged to make sure their cars are roadworthy after hundreds were given warnings to carry out repairs.
Vehicle Defect Rectification (VDR) notices are dished out to drivers offering them the chance to replace broken and worn parts without the need for further action.
Those who fail to prove they have made the repairs within 14 days then face court action, which could leave them to pick up a fine, court costs and see points added to their licence.
In comparison, an MoT garage could charge just a few pounds to sign off the repair once it is carried out, with police reasoning it is cheaper to have the work completed and check approved than prosecution.
Traffic police have seen a drop in the number of the notices handed out across County Durham, which they believe is down to an increase in newer vehicles on the road, while there has been a slight increase in those issued in the Sunderland area.
The VDRs can be given out for a host of reasons and centre on functions and parts which should work and comply with standards set out in an MoT, including bulbs and tyres.
However, officers say in the majority of cases they issue advice to carry out the repair without going through the VDR process, with a warning action will be taken if they come across the vehicle again with the same fault while on their regular patrol.
But in some instances vehicles can be taken off the roads because of a catalogue of problems, with police often finding those in the worst state are often being driven by uninsured drivers.
Inspector Lee Morris, a member of Durham Constabulary’s strategic road policing unit, said: “If you get stopped because somebody’s seen a fault, rather than get a defect notice and go through that process and see them go to court, we would prefer them to use the money to do the repair than pay a fine.
“Sometimes if it is just one fault, a light out, for example, that’s when we might just offer advice. If it’s gets to two to four failures, then that’s when we start to look at notices.
“If they don’t rectify it, then we can scrap that vehicle. Sometimes they’re in such a condition it can indicate there are other problems.”
Figures revealed by Durham Constabulary show 1,084 notices were issued during the last financial year, 1,228 the year before and 1,471 in the 12 months before that.
In Sunderland, 185 were issued in the last financial year, after 144 the year previous and 138 from 2008 to 2009.