Thousands more new car owners are being hit with fines and having their cars clamped and towed away since major changes were made to the tax disc system.
Drivers have been subjected to hundreds of pounds in penalties after their cars have been towed away for non-payment of car tax – even if they have a paper disc certificate in the window.
After the new rules were introduced by the DVLA in autumn last year, paper tax discs no longer need to be displayed on windscreens and are now processed digitally instead.
However, car traders are advised to notify buyers that the vehicle excise duty of a second-hand car is automatically cancelled when it changes ownership – therefore new owners should make sure their car gets the green light from the DVLA before driving.
13 laws you didn't know you were breaking
13 laws you didn't know you were breaking
1/13 1. Salmon handling
It's illegal to handle salmon in suspicious circumstances, according to the Salmon Act of 1986. While this is clearly related to selling fish gained through illicit means, the law is oddly broad in its wording
Thomas D Mangelsen/The Masters of Nature Photography/Natural History Museum
2/13 2. Unattended alarms
It is an offence under a provision of the Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005 to leave your property with a burglar alarm activated unless you have named a “key-holder” responsible for shutting it off if you are away
20th Century Fox
3/13 3. Queue jumping
Shoppers queue in the early morning outside Selfridges department store in central London in search of a bargain in the post Christmas Boxing Day sales
4/13 4. Lane hogging
Last year the roads safety minister Stephen Hammond warned that drivers who hogged the middle lane of motorways, drove while using their mobile phones or tailgated other road users faced on the spot fines and three points on their licence
5/13 5. Mat shaking
Many rules brought in by the Metropolitan Police Act 1839 have since been repealed or revised by newer laws. One which hasn’t, however, makes it illegal to beat or shake any carpet rug or mat in any street in the Metropolitan Police District
6/13 6. Washing lines
Also under the Metropolitan Police Act 1839, it is illegal to erect a washing line across any “thoroughfares” in the city
7/13 7. Door knocking
Seen by many as a harmless (if annoying) children’s game, knocking on someone’s door and running away is actually illegal under the 1839 law. It makes it an offence to 'wilfully and wantonly disturb any inhabitant by pulling or ringing any door-bell or knocking at any door without lawful excuse'
8/13 8. Singing in the street
Again under the Metropolitan Police Act 1839, it is illegal to “sing any profane, indecent, or obscene song or ballad” in the street. Bad news for stag parties and football fans, then
9/13 9. Being drunk in the pub
This often-cited law strictly-speaking actually makes it illegal for the owner or manager of a licensed premises to “permit drunkenness or other disorderly conduct” – meaning it is not an offence to be that drunk person yourself. It is, however, illegal to buy a drink for someone who is drunk
10/13 10. Bad references
It is sometimes said that it is illegal for an employer to give a bad reference – meaning many will simply decline to provide one. Though this isn’t strictly the case, a false bad reference is considered libellous – so employers need to be prepared to back up their words in court
11/13 11. TV licences
The law states that you don’t need a TV licence if you use your TV only to watch DVDs, play video games or use ‘catch-up’ services. But if you stream anything live at the time it is broadcast – even if it is on a laptop and you don’t own a TV at all – you’re breaking the law
12/13 12. Horn misuse
The police are very clear on this –according to their explanation of the rules, “a horn should only be used when warning someone of danger, not to indicate your annoyance at a manner of driving”
13/13 13. Tax discs
As of 1 October, it will be illegal to 'transfer' car tax when buying a second-hand vehicle. Anyone who fails to immediately tell the DVLA when they sell their car could face fines of up to £1,000
Motorists will need to renew the tax disc online, even if the paper version has still not expired, otherwise they could be fined and their car could be taken to a pound after being spotted and checked by number plate recognition cameras.
What is a tax disc?
Drivers will not be unfamiliar with these circular pieces of paper. The licence was usually displayed on the windscreen to show that vehicle excise duty – or road tax – had been paid for that car.
When and why did it change?
The government abolished the road tax certificate on 1 October last year after around 93 years in operation. The excise duty can now be bought more quickly – presumably to end the “it’s in the post” excuses – and the cost can be spread monthly with direct debit payments rather than having to shell out lump sums every six to 12 months.
How many drivers have been hit by the changes?
Before the reform, agencies working on behalf of DVLA clamped around 5,000 vehicles a month. This has now risen to almost 8,000 – with some towed away without even a warning letter. More than 100,000 vehicles are expected to be clamped this year compared to 60,000 last year, according to The Guardian.
I want to buy a second-hand car. What should I do?
Buyers of second-hand cars are advised to pay the road tax by visiting the Post Office, phoning the DVLA or via their website, as drivers will not be able to use the tax disc of the previous owner. This is to avoid being clamped or fined.
I want to sell a car. What should I do?
As the tax for a particular car is cancelled after an ownership change, DVLA should send you an automatic refund. You are advised to check that you have given the department your correct address to allow this to happen.Reuse content