back to article DVLA off-road system seriously off-message

The DVLA’s off-road notification system is a shambles: legally unenforceable and administrative chaos. Two recent court cases suggest that the DVLA has been acting unlawfully and does not have the powers it thinks it has when it comes to pushing motorists around. First up was a case heard in Clerkenwell District Court in October …

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Gold badge

Way to complicate things DVLA

The rules in the US (well, actually it's per state but most are similar) are actually similar but enforcement is simpler! Here, you get a registration sticker every year or two from the DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles) which is a state-agency (i.e. rules do vary a little per state). In my state there is no inspection, some have a safety inspection, and some have an emissions test (California and northeast states mainly). The tag is color coded, if you don't renew your tag it's obvious because they are the wrong color, you'll be pulled over sooner or later -- probably sooner -- and fined for expired tags. You may be able to get out of the fine by retroactively paying for current tags, depending on the state. Simple! If you don't drive on public roads, you won't be caught with an out-of-date tag, no paper work to file for "off road" vehicles, no mistakes.

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Silver badge

Sir

I think you are maybe comparing apples and oranges here me old mucker, what you have just described sounds more like our MOT (vehicle is fit to drive on the road certificate basically).

Our VED (Vehicle excise duty) or Road Tax as it is usually known, is another way for our goverment to wallet rape it's citizens for the priveledge of paying £1.23 for a LITRE of fuel. This is what you don't pay if your vehicle is SORN'd.

Clear yet? :)

And yes, I'm being deliberatly obtuse to our American cousins, coz I know how much you like having the wee extracted from you :P

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@ Henry Wertz

In theory the procedure over here is similar. The tax disc differs in colour depending on its expiry, and the expiry date is printed quite large on it, thereby being similar to your color coded tag.

The difference with this, and the reason for SORNing is down to the fact that all the police who used to patrol the roads checking out for things like this have all been replaced by cameras at the side of the road which simply check for people going a couple of mph over the limit, even when it is perfectly safe to do so and in times gone by the police would've let you off for it.

By removing the eyes aspect of this visual system which worked so fine, the system now has to rely on people telling computers that they no longer use the vehicle on the road.

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Anonymous Coward

...the usual gumph

"all been replaced by cameras at the side of the road which simply check for people going a couple of mph over the limit, even when it is perfectly safe to do so"

Don't be a prat. Those cameras have an inbuilt percentage leeway just as the guy in the patrol car would give you. If you are over that limit then you deserve to be fined since you are breaking the law - whether you think it's perfectly safe to drive at that speed or not, your opinion is worthless.

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Anonymous Coward

Sorry mate...

...but that scheme has two overwhelming drawbacks as far as British bureaucracy is concerned.

It's economic and it's sensible.

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FAIL

Why not use the Internet?

Well the answer to that is tied up in the red tape DVLA have wrapped around SORN.

If you don't receive your VED reminder and can't find your log book (my paperwork system is haphazard at best) or have an old style log book for a vehicle that has been off the road since before SORN came into being (DVLA didn't issue new type log books for these vehicles) then you are forced to download and print form V890 and apply for SORN by POST.

As you can't interact directly with the DVLA data base via their website, even if you do apply online there is no guarantee that your SORN application will be processed. In fact take a look around the Internet and you will find a fair few examples of this.

It's very easy to assume that just because you are able to SORN your vehicle over the internet that everyone else can. Last figures I read stated that something like 10% of vehicles couldn't be SORN'd online.

Hope that helps answer a few questions.

Regards

James E Collins

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Thumb Up

yep.

I miss placed my DVLA details, as you send a bit of your form off when you SORN, and need less to say had no clue where my 'letter' from the DVLA went. (I suppose I should be grateful that I got a letter).

Anhoo it meant I needed to go into the DVLA offices to sort it out as they could not do anything over the phone or via mail or via internet. - joy.

The folk at the office were nice and got me sorted out that day so I could get road tax, just as well because the vehicle in question was parked in there spaces :)

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Anonymous Coward

Sorry

If you can't find the log book then that's your own bloody silly fault, not the fault of the DVLA. No sympathy at all.

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FAIL

No smarter here

There must be an inherent genetic defect which pre-disposes these jobsworths to go and enlist in MVBs worldwide.

I've owned a certain classic motorcycle for 40 years, and I had the effrontery and temerity to move and take it with me. According to the law, I have to update my address in the state database for the title and the registration.

State of Florida informs me that 1) they have no record of this vehicle (I have a Florida title in my hand - unless it is from a different State of Florida), 2) only the serial number is in the all-knowing computer, and 3) the license plate is invalid and illegal - despite being a permanent license plate for antique vehicles issued by (the same) State of Florida back in 1987.

I was finally able to get the MVB to admit to the existence of the motorcycle. I was finally able to update my address in their computer BUT they will not send me an updated registration, so if I get stopped, the address will be wrong and I will be charged with not updating my address.

I was also able to cite a Florida Statute which shows my permanent license plate is valid and correct - lets see what the state MVB has to say about that! Stay tuned.

My paperss are perfectly in order - it is THEIR paperss vich are NOT in order . . .

These clowns are an utterly useless collection of terminal w*nkers. Reagan was correct - *Government* is the problem . . .

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Paris Hilton

At the risk of being boring ...

misanthropy

mismanagement

lack of integrity

sociopathic tendencies

I could go on but the above really is an accurate reflection of UK (un)civil servantry.

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WTF?

SORN!

This seems an incredibly inefficient system..

How about...

1. you drive a car with a valid tax disc = Good, yay, : ), etc

2. you drive a car without a valid tax disc = Bad, $$$$, Cops, etc

Over here, you simply hand in your vehicle licence (number) plates when you scrap a car.

No plates = no drive (on road)

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Big Brother

There is an important reason for DECLARING SORN

“There’s no way to rule innocent men. The only power government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren’t enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws.” ~ Ayn Rand

And if you can extort money from those innocent men at the same time as criminalising them, so much the better. Reduced unemployment due to the vast army of needless bureaucrats is a handy bonus. There are a number of things going on here, but SERVING THE PUBLIC is not one of them. The notion that each of us should be held directly responsible for authoritarian government incompetence simply beggars belief.

As does the notion that such a trivial matter as not using the roads for a while should be elevated to the fatuously grandiose status of 'DECLARING SORN'. War may be important enough to declare, but keeping your car in the garage for a bit? I am surprised we are not made to march down the street behind the Town Crier chanting "Oyez, Oyez, Prithee hear Ye - I HEREBY AND HEREWITH DO SO SOLEMNLY DECLARE SORN - Oyez". Heaven preserve us from such officious fatuosity.

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Silver badge
Go

Plus ca change....

Some years ago, before the current web portal was running, I had a run-in with the DVLA over SORN, which resulted in the procedures being changed - an unusual victory in the ongoing war against the bureaucrats.

I have a number of lovingly maintained ongoing projects (or "that load of old scrap out the back" as my Wife mistakenly represents them) which require SORNing every year. One year, DVLA twice failed to send a reminder, resulting in two fines for failure to SORN.

The second time, I decided I'd had enough and wasn't going to pay, so started a letter-writing campaign to my MP and AM (Member of the Welsh Assembly), the DVLA, and the Charter Mark body that certifies the DVLA's excellence in customer service (no, I'm not making that last one up). I also formatted up SORN forms for each of the dozen or so vehicles, and started printing them out every month and sending them off.

At the time, there was no acknowledgement sent out when a vehicle was SORNed, so the owner had no paperwork at all relating to the SORN in force, and thus no knowledge of when it expired, unless you were one of those horribly organised people who note this sort of thing down on a calendar.

So, after six months of polite but firm letter bombing, and some support from my MP, DVLA agreed to waive the fine, and to implement written acknowledgments of all SORN forms.

My one and only contribution to making your lives better. No need to thank me :-)

GJC

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Ah good old DVLA post

I sent off for a change of address on my driving licence. They sent me thanks in return, and returned the proof of ID. Someone elses brand new biometric passport.

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Please, please, pretty please...

contact me directly, sam!

jane

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Unhappy

Passport

They lost my passport!

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ANy more for any more...

This is an issue i hope to return to. So if anyone has any stories that impact directly on DVLA systems and processes - and the lawfulness thereof, please drop me a line.

through here - or direct to jane@ozimek.co.uk

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@Sir Runcible Spoon: Wallet what?

"Our VED (Vehicle excise duty) or Road Tax as it is usually known, is another way for our goverment to wallet rape it's citizens for the priveledge of paying £1.23 for a LITRE of fuel. "

Are you the boring tosser who props up the bar at my local? Endlessly whinging about taxes and stuff? The git with a porsche and a mercedes, a nice house (which I look down on from my even nicer one), a second home in france, brags about all the fancy restaurants he's just driven back from, early retirement, generous pension, no worries. Constantly bloody whinging about tax and petrol prices and how hard done by he is because some of the stuff he has to pay for can't be directly stuffed down his cakehole or shown off to the neighbours?

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WTF?

@The anti-social anonymous coward

"i tell you what... let's see some of you nerds who sit behind your desk all day playing solitaire do better... everyone makes mistakes... we're all human.... i would be willing to bet the number of mistakes the DVLA make on a daily basis compared to the number of transactions they operate is pathetically small... i would in fact bet the number of mistakes they make is waaaay less than your average private sector organisation.."

We agree, they are human! SO WHY DO THEY ACT AS IF THEIR SHIT DOESN'T STINK WHEN YOU CALL THE CALL CENTRE MONKEYS FOR HELP!?!

You really need to get a grip man.

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Unhappy

2 things

Recorded post working requires that people dont get on with their postie well enough to let them put signed for stuff in the letterbox - I frequently get items that need signing whilst I am away on business.

Also, it is apparently impossible to get two V5 log books.. although I do, as I didnt get a new one after I bought a car. After the 6 weeks was up, I phoned the details through and there was "no record of the original paperwork". A week later it appeared. The following day the original one appeared with an earlier serial number. So even if not lost, they cant keep to their own timescales as noted on their documents anyway.

A/C cos I like my postie.. and I dont want to get hassle for the DVLA mistakes.

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Silver badge

Human Rights Act applies

Using an untaxed vehicle on the Queen's Highway, except in limited circumstances (travelling less than 10km. from your own land to your own land, or to the post office to obtain a tax disc), is an offence. Keeping an untaxed vehicle on private land with the landowner's consent is *not* in and of itself an offence, and possible related offences -- such as if the vehicle contains substances which make it a pollution hazard -- are beyond the remit of the DVLA.

The SORN system subverts the presumption of innocence, and thus runs counter to Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights, implemented in UK law as the Human Rights Act 1998.

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Happy

Aha!

A commentard who is a human rights lawyer. How convincing your argument is. You HAVE taken this issue to court haven't you?

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Stop

@ A J Stiles

No it doesn't run counter to the ECHR, if you read the ECHR it specifically states that nothing in it should undermine civil penalty regimes in member states.

As for your point about presumptions of innocence being undermined by SORN, the legislation containing the SORN regime I assume was part of an act of parliament, and is therefore in essence the supreme form of law - it is sadly deemed to be the sacred democratic will of the people, or so.

But yes on an emotional level and on the level of fairness I agree with everything you're saying. PCN regimes are bad law and enforced badly. This one particularly - a 'bad because forbidden' offence, for those who declare a bit late, amongst others.

What I find interesting is that the law usually specifies that the authority concerned 'may' levy the fine concerned. Which in my book is the key word. The fact that it has discretion on whether to compassionately quash PCNs is used as an excuse to withhold that discretion and rake in megabucks - rather than conferring a responsibility to decide in a just manner.

And no way to pay in instalments! How fucked up is that? Even fines for criminal offences permit instalments.

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Bronze badge
Stop

@ A J Stiles

No it doesn't run counter to the ECHR, if you read the ECHR it specifically states that nothing in it should undermine civil penalty regimes in member states.

As for your point about presumptions of innocence being undermined by SORN, the legislation containing the SORN regime I assume was part of an act of parliament, and is therefore in essence the supreme form of law - it is sadly deemed to be the sacred democratic will of the people, or so.

I think you're also RIGHT in a way about what you say with regard to the presumption of innocence in the administration of this law and that's part of what makes this an interesting article.

But, on an emotional level and on the level of fairness I agree with everything you're saying. PCN regimes are bad law and enforced badly. This one particularly - a 'bad because forbidden' offence, for those who declare a bit late, amongst others.

What I find interesting is that the law usually specifies that the authority concerned 'may' levy the fine concerned. Which in my book is the key word. The fact that it has discretion on whether to compassionately quash PCNs is used as an excuse to withhold that discretion and rake in megabucks - rather than conferring a responsibility to decide in a just manner.

And no way to pay in instalments! How fucked up is that? Even fines for criminal offences permit instalments.

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Boffin

Not just DVLA

Surely any business that relies on customer reaction to a letter is potentially effected by the same rule?

For example, if I don't have a direct debit set up for my phone then the phone company rely on me paying after I get my bill.

I recently moved house and my energy company sent my final bill to my old address. They called me and said you haven't paid your final bill, my obvious response was I'll pay my bill when you send me it.

After an argument with the customer service phd they agreed I can't pay something if I haven't got the bill for it, and that the onus was not on me to contact them and ask where my bill was as I had already told them I had moved and given my new address details (the same on line form they used to complete my final bill).

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Anonymous Coward

I remember DVLA fondly

Did some work developing a system that needed an OLTP read-only link to the DVLA system a few years ago. It was a branch of govt linking to DVLA. A fairly mundane interface with a necessary, obvious and socially useful reason to exist. From their behaviour you'd have thought we were trying pleasure their wives/husbands.

What a bunch of uncooperative, obstructionist, unreasonable, mean minded wotsits. Every possible barrier was hurled into our way. Test windows would somehow only ever be available to us at stupid o'clock on a sunday or monday morning. We'd get 20 minute windows that they'd open late and shut off without even bothering to check. When we complained they'd never apologise and force us to rebook a new one, which inevitably wouldn't be "possible" for ages and at a stupid time of their choosing. (As if they were always constantly testing 24 hours a day for the rest of the week.). At the design stage they wouldn't even answer the most reasonable and professionally made request for information without a staggering delay. We were a high quality team working on behalf of "them" (i.e. a govt dept)

I see a lot of pathetic, obstructive behaviour in the private sector, but they deserved a BOFH medal.

They seemed to have a bunker mentality where "giving in" to the outside world was to be avoided at all costs The thought of working with us to minimise cost to the taxpayer didn't occur to them (ironic given they're all taxpayers).

Maybe they send the SORN administrators on the same training courses. (In the interests of balance I'm sure the SORN front office really does have to deal daily with gits. We weren't gits, though, we were nice. They weren't interested in trying to tell the difference.)

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WTF?

It's only a state of mind

Does this remind anyone else of Terry Gilliams' film Brazil? One missing (or mis-typed) piece of paper work can result in bailiffs at the door?!

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Anonymous Coward

Similar experience

I had to send in the log book on selling a car, and claim a refund on the unused tax. They both had to go to the same address, so I stuck them in the same envelope and posted off. I duly got a refund on the tax, so assumed that the log book had been received.

Oh no, say the DVLA some 2 years later when I ask why I'm being pursued by bailiffs - they didn't even bother writing to me first. I went through the full complaints procedure, including bringing in my MP to have the parliamentary ombudsman deal with it before they backed off and said they weren't pursuing it any more.

For 6 months, when they started chasing me again. It took another 3 months to get them to ackowledge that they had already told me they weren't pursuing the fine.

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Anonymous Coward

Oh really?

The tax refund form states:

"You are the current or last registered keeper and you have recently sold, transferred or exported the vehicle. You should have filled in the relevant part of the Registration Certificate (V5C) and sent it to us. If you have not done this yet, you should enclose the relevant section with this application."

So you should include them in the same envelope. However if you do send them seperately then the addresses are very definitely NOT the same. All DVLA correspondence goes to DVLA, Swansea, SA99 XXX the last three digits of the poscode being different for different forms. 1AL for the tax refund, I think 1BD for sale or transfer to a motor trader. (Guess what I've been doing). Quite a neat system when it works, but it's very old fashioned. When people don't use the right postcode things go missing. It would probably be better if they did have a single address which all went to a scanning room. A decent DMS could easilly handle all the forms and make sure they got to the right office.

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Happy

Can we clarify?

Both bailiffs and debt collectors are mentioned in the article and readers comments. Which is it? As many will no doubt be aware they are not the same thing. Bailiffs should usually be taken seriously, debt collectors on the other hand can be safely ignored. Or sworn at and ejected from your property. Whatever takes your fancy.

Odd that I can thank the DVLA for indirectly making me aware of this. If they didn't happily give out everyone's personal details to any Tom, Dick or Harry who wants to set up a private parking company (for £2.50), I wouldn't have discovered places such as CAG or Pepipoo, I would have been £60 worse off for going 5 minutes over and I wouldn't have a growing pile of threatening letters from Excel. Which I'm ignoring.

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Anonymous Coward

Going postal

As the DVLA don't sign for recorded delivery mail, I can't see how it's possible that they can ask you to use it. I found this out several years ago when I wanted to be sure they couldn't fob me off with "we never received it" so I sent something or other by recorded delivery and it was delivered without being signed for. I wrote to Royal Mail to ask them why they hadn't got a signature and they told me that due to the volume of mail received by DVLA, they won't sign for anything. So, should those nice helpful people at DVLA ask you to send anything by recorded delivery, be aware that they're talking through their hats.

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Pint

<title>

its not just DVLA, any company that deals with bulk mail does not get signed for.

It still arrives in a seperate bag and is logged as "delivered" but nobody will have signed for it.

beer? well thats where you will find your postman after 1pm

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Big Brother

Watch your License

Beware of them changing your license driving rights!

Send your license off to change your address and you might receive back a HGV qualification when you only ride a moped. Conversely you could be a police biker yet according to them you aint when your license returns.

Motorcycle news (MCN) has been banging on about this random category shift for a long time. No you never had that category on your license. Photocopies will not suffice. Do not send off your old license ( I've lost it!!! ) but compare it to your old one then give them earache. What ever you do keep your old un or you will be really screwed, and a new test will be required.

police employees have been screwed like this even when say a police inspector has checked the employee/mechanic is licensed to drive/test the vehicles he maintains/repairs. DVLA of course effectively called the copper a liar.

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Flame

Agencies & Labour

Maggies mob set up these agencies but tory Tony just kept them going. He kept most of the Tory crap policies in place I considered him Tory Tony!

Gordon changed nothing, the labour mob are just a wet bunch of tories with the same policies.

To name a few, NHS internal market, no change, selling off school playing fields, no change, the DVLA no change, as seen above. Of course their LYING manifesto's, pre elections promised the earth, especially to stop the above mentioned policies.

As we know politicians are a bunch of professional liars & thieves. Cest la Vie!!!

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Anonymous Coward

The DVLA lose passports too

The DVLA are the useless scum that conned my mother into sending her passport as proof of age when she hit 70 and needed a new driving licence.

They denied ever receiving it despite it being sent special delivery, then they said they had sent it back despite saying nothing on the covering letter and the envelope being too small for a passport to fit. It needed intervention from her MP to get them to admit they had screwed up and refund all her costs but with bugger all compensation for all the time and stress caused.

One day I expect the anti terrorist police to be on her door accusing her of being an al-qaeda operative and showing her passport as proof.

The DVLA are evil, incompetent, blatant liars and unfit for purpose

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Anonymous Coward

Aha!

You've encountered the thorny issue of Civil Service accountability. The office you spoke to are probably correct in saying that they are not responsible. What every office within the DVLA (and other civil service body) seems to have a problem with is that they are part of a larger body. The post office have evidence that somebody at the DVLA signed for the package. So while the office you spoke to are probably not responsible for the post getting from the post room to their office, the DVLA as a whole are still responsible.

The only issue here is that recorded delivery does not have a very strong standing as evidence that you sent a passport. It's evidence that you sent and they received an envelope. I've been there before when I sent some paperwork "signed for" the recipient rang me to tell me they received a ripped and empty envelope, for which they refused to sign. The problem in that case is as ever the blind jobsworth incompetence of so many RM employees.

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Anonymous Coward

Driving Licence

It's been ten years since I asked for a new driving licence as I moved house then.

I guess that they've lost my paperwork and my old licence as I am still waiting.

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Alert

Use the Web, Luke

The SORN Website has been up for several years now (though no mention of it was made in this long article or whether it was available at the time the people involved got into "trouble") and is very easy to use.

You just need your car reg plate number plus either your vehicle registration number (on a green form) or the number they quote on the SORN/tax disc letter you get annually. I've done a SORN via Web on a couple of cars without any issues and it's far "safer" than relying on normal post!

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Anonymous Coward

Online?

Reg readers are surely bright enough to declare SORN online.

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Anonymous Coward

Needs a redesign.

The whole SORN system works incorrectly and it's obvious that it was created to work with the road fund licence system as simply as possible, rather than being fit for purpose.

It would make much more sense if a SORN declaration lasted until the keeper notified the DVLA of any change in the status of the vehicle. If they take it as read that a car on SORN remains on SORN until it is either taxed, sold or scrapped then it would mean a lot less work for them. Surely that would make them happy? Unless, of course, SORN is another civil service job creation scheme.

The SORN system is a stupid as having to apply for a new tax disc every year for a historic vehicle for which you don't have to pay tax. The theory behind this is that you can't have a tax disc without an MOT, so the disc is supposedly evidence of a valid MOT. All of which sounds sensible until you think about the fact that the MOT could be due shortly after the tax disc so the car could still spend much of the year with a valid tax disc, but no MOT. So that justification is nonsense anyway.

All the systems and procedures implemented by the DVLA are needlessly complex and unfit for the purpose for which they were "designed". Unless you assume that they were designed solely for the purpose of keeping DVLA staff in work...

The curious thing about the DVLA is that they exist on paperwork, they love paperwork, but they have no effective way of keeping track of the vehicle and they destroy all that lovely paperwork withing weeks of its being created.

These days of course tax discs are pretty pointless anyway in these days of ANPR. A colleague got pulled for driving without an MOT within 48 hours of the certificate expiring.

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Info for friends across the water

Just to say (if you get this far) that the reason behind SORN is to reduce the problems of uninsured drivers. Because most housing in the UK (especially in low income areas) has no parking facilities (because it was built before car ownership was common), you have to park on the side of the public highway.

As you need to show proof of valid insurance to tax the cars, forcing them off the street reduces the possibility of them getting driven and in an accident.

I know they do checks, as my car got impounded when I was between jobs and my tax ran out.

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Anonymous Coward

BS!

Sorry I've got to call BS on that. The claim that SORN is there to reduce the incidence of uninsured driving is transparent nonsense. The government are well aware that SORN does no such thing.

For a start parking the vehicle off the road does not in any way discourage the keeper from driving it. Why would it do that?

Then there is the issue that the sort of person who would drive a car without insurance isn't really going to bother about tax either. How would SORN prevent this.

There is also the issue that there is little to prevent a driver from taxing their car then cancelling their insurance, or at least allowing it to lapse. Tax due in april, insurance expires in may? Tax the car then don't bother renewing the insurance. How does SORN preven this?

From a quick trawl through the local papers column on magistrates courts will show you that a staggering number of people charged with driving without insurance weren't driving their own cars. How would SORN prevent this?

SORN was introduced supposedly to help the DVLA keep better track of vehicles. A very small part of that would probably reduce the instance of uninsured driving, but the whole administrative cost of the SORN system far outweighs any tiny reduction in uninsured driving. There are much more efficient ways to reduce uninsured driving. The biggest benefit of the SORN system is not that it reduces uninsured driving, but that it make it easier to prosecute for untaxed driving. Get caught driving an untaxed car in the past and you'd no doubt use the defence that "the tax is in the post", running off to post the tax form as soon as you got home. "The form must have been held up in the post, your honour." Often the worse that would happen is that you would have to pay back tax to the day the old disc expired and nominal court costs, if it got as far as the magistrates. The idea of SORN is that if you have actually declared that the vehicle is not in use on public roads and you are caught driving it then you are collared bang to rights. No room for maneuvre. It's easier to prosecute somebody for driving a vehicle that they have stated is off road than it is to prosecute somebody who has forgotten to tax their vehicle.

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Grenade

I have already posted but I though I might as well mention here...

..that I have pals, now numbering @3 who the DVLA have decided do not have licenses, because the computer says no.

One of them moved house and could not find his, the DVLA could find no record of him ever having passed a test. (he passed his test around 10 years ago)

A similar case more recent, a chap I know lost his paper part. But even though he could provide his license number and such. Still no record could be found and he has had to resit (same with chap above).

The worse case is a chap I know who got his house broken into. One of the the things taken was his licence. So he is busy getting new passports and other such thing one must do when all your shits has been nicked. He goes to the DVLA to get a new copy of his licensce, as he is a trucker hand has been for 20 odd years. As you maybe aware you employer takes a copy of your License when you join (to pove they checked). Still even with a copy, a valid driver number and such like the DVLA could find not records... so he has to sit ALL of his licences again.

COMPUTER SAYS 'NO'.

Most of this happended over the last 4-6 years. My Mechanic was put in the same position, which is an issue for him as A: its very embarising, B: its hard to test a motorbike when your not allowed to drive. That was about 4 months ago.

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FAIL

SORN should be automatic

Seems kind of silly to have to register SORN, wouldnt it be much much easier to just assume that any car not taxed on its renewal date is not taxed and thus is off road. Unnecessary beaurocracy like must of modern Britain.

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Thumb Down

Brainless in every possible way

The SORN online facility isn't the only one that's functionally brainless.

You can declare as a disabled driver and get your tax disc discount.

But if you buy a vehicle from such a driver and want to change the status - ie pay them the full amount - you have to go to one of their so-called "local" offices.

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How about

1) Get rid of road tax

2) increase fuel duty (slightly) to compensate. This makes a fairer system by which people that use the roads more, pay more.

3) Introduce an Insurance disc that is provided by your insurance company. I for one would shop anyone I see on the road without one.

It might put thousands of Post Office workers out of a job, but it'll save a lot of hassle.

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Anonymous Coward

Well, this is their reason against.

Let's start by looking at the reasons the govt give us for its existence: (from an article by Sue Rees, taken from DVL Today - Issue 27)

"SORN declarations must be renewed annually. This requirement is designed to ensure that a vehicle keeper provides up-to-date information at least once a year to maintain the accuracy of the vehicle register. Keeping a record of vehicles which are off the road and unlicensed makes the DVLA record more comprehensive. The police rely on DVLAs records for the investigation of all vehicle-related crime and fraud. Our records also enable enforcement against vehicle excise duty evaders to be direct from the record. "

They're putting the emphasis squarely on crime investigation, with VED evasion as a secondary. You'd get rid of their need to deal with VED evasion but leave the police hampered because the vehicle register would not be maintained. You could suggest that the insurance companies become legally responsible for maintaining the vehicle register which would address the non-SORNing fraternity, but not the off road aspect. The govt would probably argue that that could get messy and they like things as they are. The public maintains their own records via post or web. No need for commercial third parties. Or you could argue the police don't need the register.

Insurance disc. Don't we already have that? You need to be insured to buy a tax disc.

Are any Sir Humphrey's reading this who can explain the budgeting and societal pros/cons of replacing VED with fuel duty increase?

It just seems to be one of those areas of life where honest people have to jump through hoops because dishonest people exist and are difficult to deal with.

Any suggestions for making DVLA less crap at dealing with the post?

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Grenade

"The DVLA never lose mail"

I worked at the DVLA once - don't know about nowadays but mail went up and down between floors in open-topped boxes using a Paternoster lift system. While I was there it had to be taken out of service because the number of files that had "accidentally" fallen out of boxes had filled the bottom of the lift shaft to the extent that it was jamming the system.

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