Consigning vehicle tax discs to history two years ago has proved to be a winner for the UK’s Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency. Data released under Freedom of Information laws show the quantity of cars wheel-clamped and their owners fined has more or less doubled since the changeover.
Prior to the shredding of tax discs in October 2014, the figures show that on average 5,100 vehicles were clamped in each of the six preceding months. The archives show that on some months since up to 9,000 vehicles have been netted in the crackdown on people who do not pay road tax.
The DVLA contracted its enforcement operations to public services specialist group NSL at the same time as vehicle excise duty discs were scrapped, NSL operates a fleet of 75 inspection vehicles which travel through all regions of the UK twice a year in search of road tax dodgers.
NSL’s vehicles are kitted out with scanners and a licence plate recognition app. They have real-time access to the DVLA database and can instantly find out whether a vehicle has up to date road tax or not.
Many motorists in the UK say the tax discs were a visual memory jogger of how long they had before renewal was due. They claim that without the disc it is hard to remember when to retax.
The DVLA’s chief-executive says this should not be a problem as vehicle owners are sent reminders by email or letter. Oliver Morley continued with the warning that UK laws stipulate vehicle owners have to pay tax to use the nation’s roads. He finished off by saying the bulk of the nation’s car owners complied without quibbling.