Number of untaxed vehicles on the road triples

tax disc composite

Published on 20 November 2017 by Robert Drane

Recently published data reveals that there is three times the number of unlicensed vehicles on the road since the paper tax disc was scrapped in 2014.

The theory was that the disc, in use since 1921, had become redundant with the DVLA and police able to rely on an electronic register. The facts, however, indicate that the abolition of the paper disc has led to errors, confusion and even direct flouting of the law by some drivers.

It was supposed to save the Treasury up to £10 million per year, but the reality has meant a potential loss of revenue of £107 million from 755,000 unlicensed vehicles last year. Department for Transport figures show that 1.8% of vehicles were unlicensed in 2017 compared with 0.6% on 2013.

"The principle of abolishing the tax disc to introduce greater efficiencies has, so far, evidently failed," said RAC public affairs manager Nicholas Lyes.

"It appears that having a visual reminder was an effective way to prompt drivers into renewing their car tax – arguably more drivers are now prepared to try their luck and see if they can get away with not paying any vehicle tax at all, or are simply forgetting to tax their vehicle when they are due to."

Read more: 75% motorists want tax disc revival