Saturday, 3 November 2012

Red tape and the DVLA

The AA is over-excited about plans to stop the check for insurance when you apply for a tax disc. “Absurd” the AA calls it and on the face of it, so it looks, until you take the trouble to read what the DVLA says. I don’t much care for consultation documents by government departments that have obviously made up their mind what they’re going to do, but I decided to go through all 3579 words. There is, as you would expect, a lot of wasted verbiage like para 2, “The DVLA handles more than 200 million interactions each year and constantly reviews the processes that support these transactions to find more effective ways of working. The proposal to remove the insurance check when taxing a vehicle supports this aim in providing improvements to customer experience and delivering sustainable, long-term savings in line with the Government’s commitment to digital services and information sharing.” Pure window-dressing, but the DVLA has a point. “…the check at the point of taxing only ensured that there was a valid insurance policy in place on the day that the tax disc came into force. There was nothing in place to stop the applicant cancelling their insurance the next day and driving until their tax expired without valid insurance, albeit with the risk of Police enforcement proceedings.” There is now an electronic check of all insured vehicles in the UK (Motor Insurance Database (MID)) when an application for a tax disc is made through the DVLA’s Electronic Vehicle Licensing (EVL) system, which I guess most people use nowadays. Before an application is processed online, there is a check of the MID to confirm a valid policy is in place. There is also now Continuous Insurance Enforcement (CIE), which targets evaders and allows DVLA to identify uninsured drivers in ways not possible hitherto. Instead of spotting uninsured vehicles on the road, CIE discovers offenders by comparing the DVLA record of vehicle keepers with the MID. The AA claims the change will, “… send out the wrong message and undo much the work carried out by the Motor Insurers’ Bureau, the Government and the insurance industry.” The DVLA says it would save £1.2million a year and cut out red tape. It is probably right. The AA is still living in a dark age when real people went along to a real motor taxation office with a real insurance certificate and Gave Their Word.

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