Rise in number of untaxed vehicles on UK roads

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New statistics show that, since the abolition of paper tax discs in 2014, an increasing number of drivers are forgetting to renew their car tax each year.

New statistics from the Department for Transport, published every two years, suggest that the number of vehicles driving untaxed on Britain’s roads has increased in recent years, up 28.5% from the previous survey in 2015.

The latest Vehicle Excise Duty evasion survey estimates that 1.9% of all vehicles on the road are untaxed. While that may seem like a small number, it’s the equivalent of 755,000 vehicles.

Since 2013, before the paper tax disc was scrapped, the number of motorists falling foul of the new Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) paperless system has tripled.

The measure was meant to save the Treasury £10 million per year, but it’s been suggested that road tax evasion could account for up to £107 million in potential lost revenue.

When considering the statistics over the past few years, the evidence is there to infer that the paperless electronic register has caused confusion, ignorance and seen open breaking of the law.

Maybe having a visual clue to pay the VED such as the paper tax disc was an affective prompt to remind drivers they needed to renew their tax.

Nicholas Lyes, RAC’s public affairs manager, proposed this excess of cars without tax could be seen as a failure in educating drivers about how and when to tax their vehicles, and that more must be done to remedy this.

In addition, he thinks that the DVLA needs “stronger enforcement to genuinely make drivers who evade vehicle tax feel that they are going to get caught.”

New ownership confusion

There is also some confusion about what happens when vehicles change hands, indicating drivers don’t know or weren’t aware that tax no longer carries over when ownership changes.

Road tax could previously transfer to the new owner with the car. Now, the seller needs to apply for a refund (full months only) while the new owner must tax it from the day they bought the car.

The DVLA is running a campaign to warn about the rising number of people who are driving cars declared off the road. This is illegal and you could face some serious fines if caught driving without tax and insurance. 

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