Changes to the road tax system, which mean that tax is automatically cancelled when a vehicle is sold, has seen thousands of additional drivers have been fined or had their vehicles removed since the changes were introduced last October.
The Guardian newspaper has unearthed figures showing that the number of cars clamped by the DVLA has risen from 5,000 to 8,000 since changes to the road tax system were first introduced in October 2014. Despite a number of cases of poor administrative work by the DVLA and complaints that drivers have not been made fully aware of the changes, the road tax organisation has said that the changes were well publicised. They also said that reminder and warning letters are sent out to vehicle owners as well as new buyers. Critics have likened the clamping practices to the car park clampers that came under heavy scrutiny and were eventually prohibited from their clamping practices by the government.
Changes to road tax regulations concentrated primarily on the fact that car owners would no longer need to display a valid paper tax disc in their car, as the system went entirely digital. However, this was only one of a number of changes that actually came into force.
Perhaps the most important of the changes was the fact that tax discs could not be transferred from one owner to another. Whereas buying a used car meant that the new owner could use the existing tax disc prior to the changes, this is no longer the case and hasn’t been since October. As soon as a car is sold, its tax becomes immediately invalid and the new owner must buy their own tax.
It has been six months since the changes came into effect, and the number of people that have had their cars clamped and towed by the DVLA and their agents, has risen dramatically. The Guardian newspaper has determined that while 5,000 vehicles a month were clamped prior to the new laws, 8,000 a month are now being clamped, suggesting that the 60% increase is primarily down to tax laws.