DVLA proposals “madness” says the AA


The AA has branded as “absurd” a Government proposal to cut red tape by no longer requiring motorists to provide proof of insurance when taxing their car.

The DVLA claims the plans will mean that an extra 600,000 motorists a year will be able to buy tax online and motorists will no longer have to search for their insurance certificate to pick up a new disc at the Post Office.

But Simon Douglas, director of broker AA Insurance, says: “This will send out entirely the wrong message and will undo much of the work carried out by the Motor Insurers’ Bureau, the Government and the insurance industry to tighten up enforcement of the law.

“If this happens, we will see a sharp rise in the number of people driving without cover, either deliberately or through oversight. That in itself will impose a costly burden on the police and the courts.

“One in 25 motorists on Britain’s roads is driving without cover, a significant improvement over five years ago.  Even so, this is still one of the poorest uninsured driving records in Europe and now is not the time to knock out a legislative pillar that will take us back to square one.”

Roads Minster Stephen Hammond maintained: “We are committed to getting rid of unnecessary red tape. There is absolutely no benefit in making motorists prove they have insurance when they buy a tax disc now that we regularly check existing databases for insurance under Continuous Insurance Enforcement rules.”

The consultation began yesterday and closes on 26 November, click here to view the full document.


Chris Martin

Somebody needs to tell the AA to get with 21st century technology. It is easy enough to link an annual tax renewal with a computerised insurance database.
Here in NSW Australia, the minimum insurance requirement is called a 'green slip' which is the basic third party cover and the annual inspection is known as the 'pink slip' and it used to be that you need to take both along to the local RTA office (now called the RMS) which is the licensing authority (like the DVLA) to renew the 'rego'.
There is no tax disc, or similar displayed on the car - the registration plate itself is renewed annually.
All of this has been computerised for some time, and renewing the registration online is now much easier, but the system will not allow an unisured or unroadworthy to be registered.
One point about the old UK rules that never made sense to me was the claim that a current tax disc was visible proof that a car was safe and insured, when in fact having a third party cover note, or an MoT ticket dated only a day or two ahead was enough to buy a year's tax.
Now if all is computerised, and the police have immediate access to check any car's registration it should be easier AND safer for all.
Chris M.


Uncle Benz

I think the AA has a point.

There already is a link between the Insurance Database and online road tax renewal.

The DVLA is proposing to scrap the database link and make the purchase of road tax completely divorced from insurance.

Thus if you buy road tax in person you would no longer need a cover note, and if you buy online your purchase will no longer be subject to an insurance database check.

The DVLA's argument is that they now have CIE which takes care of all situations where a car is neither insured nor SORN'd. If that's true then why are so many cars uninsured? I think it's a bit early to be acting as if the problem has been solved; or will be soon. They say divorcing insurance from tax cuts red tape but I'm not convinced, how inconvenient is the current system? Not very, in my opinion.

I don't think this is about cutting red tape. It's about money. The cheapest way for DVLA to sell tax is to do it online and without an insurance check. They say that under the new system 600,000 more people will buy tax online because they currently lose this number of sales due to online/validation problems.

Fair enough, seek to make the system cheaper, but don't try to sell it as helping us out by cutting red tape.

The AA's point is that we have a problem with uninsured drivers. Sometimes deliberate but other times by error, forgetfulness, etc. The AA say that a road tax system linked to insurance just makes it that bit harder to be uninsured. To a degree, prevention rather than just cure. We already have it so why scrap it and send a poor message? Why not keep both ways of tackling the problem rather than relying on just one?


A charter for more uninsured drivers on the road? I thought the police - and insurance companies - were trying to eliminate them.
Maybe if the police stopped fiddling about with speed cameras (particularly "scarecrows with hair dryers") and checked for uninsured drivers we'd all be happier: after all, if the percentage uninsured is as great as they say, then the plod could have a field day and the bad boys could fund the force. Oh, I forgot! They still have the fixed 'cash machines' (which don't catch drunk or uninsured drivers) but merely punish the driver who probably unwittingly strays a bit over absurd limits, particularly where there is no real justification for a camera.


As an insurance broker (by day) I would counter that we frequently see people come in for a quote and walk out with a cover note after paying a deposit only to see the cover cancelled soon after. To my mind, having to take your paper cert into the Post Office is a complete waste of time when people do this. Besides which, the MID is used to check insurance is valid in real time using ANPR when people are actually on the road, and whether you believe it or not, figures show the number of uninsured drivers has dropped significantly.

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