The Department for Transport is to slash red tape rules governing the freedom of motorists in the UK, rolling back restrictive policies that have risen in number over the last decade.
Statutory Off Road Notifications (SORNs) are coming under fire with the rules set to be relaxed, meaning a SORNed vehicle – applied for when not taxed, and needing to be renewed every 12-months – will only have to be completed once, reducing paperwork and administration that proves a huge problem for motorists in terms of time and money.
The point of introducing a photo card driving licence was to eradicate the old-style paper licences, reducing the documents drivers had to carry. However, the need to hold a paper counterpart alongside this defeats the object of the photo card scheme – as does the requirement to prove you hold a valid insurance policy when trying to tax your vehicle.
The insurance, MOT and road tax databases are all now interconnected so where is the need to produce documents to tax vehicles? It really does appear to be an antiquated procedure given the money spent from motorists’ tax on updating the system.
The DfT has heard the cries of the UK’s motorists though, slashing the majority of red tape that limits drivers, forcing them to follow to futile government legislation.
With fuel duty, road tax and insurance premiums (including the relatively unknown insurance premium duty) all continuously rising seeing the Treasury take three times the amount it spends on the UK’s roads in motoring taxes, something has to be done to satisfy the motorist.
Plans will see the paper counterpart of the photo card licence abolished saving up to £8 million, as well as plans to simplify SORNs.
Admin will be reduced, saving money, as will the confusion among motorists as a result of the reams of paperwork vehicle owners are flooded by – plans have been put forward to only issue V5C registration certificates to owners when needed, with electronic copies to suffice.
The situation is the same with holding an insurance certificate. Proposals will see hard copies of certificates scraped so drivers will no longer have to provide proof of insurance when applying for tax – it will mean an increase of 600,000 drivers that would then be eligible to tax their car online, again saving money.
Copious amounts of paperwork need not be held by motorists just to prove their eligibility to drive. We live in digital age – and one where the environmental impact of wasted resources, including paper is very prevalent – we need to embrace that fact.