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Abolition of SORN and preferably also the TAX disc

Comment 2nd July 2010

Abolishing Tax Disc ( and SORN)

Replace the VED disc with MOT disc, the drop in revenue is replaced by increases in fuel duty,  the MOTs are registered at DVLA instead so the function of vehicle registration is still maintained, there would probably need be a small fee for the MOT disc but just to cover processing costs. This idea is based on the premise that a MOT rather than VED is a better and fairer indication of a car’s fitness to be on the road. In conjunction with this, the insidious SORN requirement (which in principle assumes all vehicle owners are guilty unless they declare themselves innocent, the crime being the that of depriving HMG of some money see 5. ) is also abolished.

The advantages are many:

  1. Stops people being criminals just for having an untaxed car parked in their drive.
  2. Any car without a MOT disc could be immediately removed from the road as being potentially unsafe, with a few special exceptions e.g. unless awaiting MOT etc.
  3. People caught driving an un-MOT’d car could be driving an unsafe vehicle, legally more ethical than being prosecuted for doing HMC&E out of a few quid.
  4. Having an MOT disc in car means people would be unlikely to forget when the MOT is due. (it does genuinely happen)
  5. Declaring SORN would no longer be required, thus removing the crime of ‘not declaring SORN’ and reducing the load on the police force. This law as it stands effectively amounts to car owners having to declare themselves to be innocent or DVLA will declare them guilty by default. I think if someone decided to challenge SORN, especially in the European human rights court, HMG might be batting on a sticky wicket.
  6. Increases incentive for people to have a second small car (possibly electric) for short distances, especially if third party car insurance is on the driver not the car, a + for environment and also the car trade.
  7. Cuts down a certain amount of bureaucracy thus saving taxpayers money.
  8. Foreign vehicles don’t get away with not having to pay VED

BAR-CODES – Anti-fraud. Every MOT disc would have a unique bar-coded serial number including the car reg which could be easily scanned and checked with hand held scanners, these could carry a database which would instantly check the validity of code against vehicle, newly registered vehicles not yet on data base would have details saved & checked next time scanner is updated (See section ‘Why is your idea important?’  – Appendix 2 also )

Why does this matter?


(NOTE: the section numbering on the information below seems to have gotten adjusted somewhat onpasting from my original document. I send you a copy of my original Word doc if you email me an eddress to send it to, )

 The ideas outlined below encompass a radical rethink on road transport aimed at improving the system in order to:

  • Improve road safety
  • Reduce pollution/fuel consumption
  • Reduce bureaucracy (tax burden)
  • Reduce crime


The general principle is to actively encourage people to adopt a more responsible approach to car usage without having to use ‘big brother’ tactics, such as those which would be required by the proposed ‘road usage charging scheme’ i.e. basically a system that charges motorists by the mile based on monitoring where every car is 24/7, which I am convinced would be unworkable for similar reasons as those that made the Pole Tax fail.

The new arrangements outline below put the emphasis on vehicle safety, safe driving and the environment rather than financial aspect of raising revenue for the treasury, but the latter can/would still be catered for. The management of transport, in particular private motors, needs to be considered in the whole but the central aspect this scheme is replacing the Tax-disc with a MOT disc, and transferring the lost revenue to petrol tax, this has many benefits which are outlined in this document and there are probably others. The principle of replacing Road Tax (VED) with Fuel Tax (FED) is by no means new and taken on its own has probably been considered too much trouble and would also mean that government looses control of the  “vehicle population” which is considered key to tackling car crime, but this aspect would now be catered for via the MOT disc, possibly in conjunction with an insurance disc (see 2). Additional ideas are also outlined which are aimed at making drivers more responsible, reducing fuel usage and tackling car crime without the need for Big Brother measures.


  1. Abolishing Tax Disc ( and SORN – see ‘What is your idea’ section above )


  1. Insure driver & car separately
    Makes it more cost effective to have second more economical car, save the big thirsty one for special occasions only.

    • Driver insured to drive up to a certain insurance class of vehicle, a vehicle's insurance class could be stated on the MOT disc.
    • Driver issued with insurance disc to be displayed alongside MOT disc, also bar-coded.
    • Car need only be insured optionally as ‘a thing’ i.e. for the loss of its basic value (due to fire, theft, or other reason), the third party bit only applies to the driver.
      (There will still be a requirement to have a registered keeper for such events as when an accident caused by an unoccupied vehicle, e.g. car moving because it was left without the handbrake on, when responsibility is with the last driver/user, by default the owner. However, hitting a correctly parked car does not require the parked car to be insured as this is no different than hitting any other stationary object such as a trailer or wheelbarrow.)
    • For short distances as two separate insurances not required, just optional fire/theft/fully comp which is at owners discretion.


  1. Add insurance disc/card


  • The drivers insurance card to be displayed alongside the MOT disc/card, but its display is only mandatory when vehicle is actually being driven. (Treated like other cards – kept in wallet when not required) To avoid fraudulent use card has two parts, other part is carried by the insured.
  • Other cars can be driven by holder up to the class stated on his insurance certificate



  1. Proposed Road charging plans (pay by mile)

    1. Anyone who looks at this proposal with their eyes open should see that it will probably be less workable than the poll-tax!, although it may provide a lot of extra employment for the courts and the police. Apart from anything else implementing this system must be based on knowing where every car is at any time of day and however you dress this up it basically amounts to a BIG BROTHER! scenario.
         Other considerations are how do you make sure everybody pays, how do you collect the revenue, how do you stop people driving if they haven’t paid, what happens if you break down and the charging rate changes, who is charged if you are on tow. The bureaucracy required to sort out and manage all the problems that might arise will be horrendous, let alone trying to cover them in the legislation


  1. Safe driving & accident prevention.

    • Dilemma: Speed limit control is a very broad brush, there are a large number of roads where the legal speed limit is only appropriate for certain parts and then under certain conditions, the most notable example is unclassified roads where the  national speed limit applies and the safe limit is often well below this. The converse is also common, roads with 30 or 40mph restriction where certain sections could safely be driven at higher speeds.
    • Aim: To make drivers take more responsibility for their driving standards.
    • Possible Solution: Every car is fitted with a short rolling history tacho/driving log, say for the last 15 minutes of vehicle use, which can be read by police etc. in the event of an accident to determine the driver’s behaviour immediately prior the accident. The log could contain information which could re-construct the speed and route of the vehicle in the recent past, possibly including a drivers view video. For hit and run incidents the unit could have an inertial trigger that would permanently save a copy of the driving log of events just prior to any impact.
    • The maxim “speed kills” is actually incorrect, otherwise there would be more deaths from air travel than cars. It is actually hitting people with objects travelling at speed, or stopping people suddenly who are travelling at speed that is the problem. Getting drivers to drive at an appropriate speed for the road conditions would probably be more effective at improving road safety than the dogmatic enforcement of  speed limits, part of this is approach might be to provide road signs that make drivers more aware of these matters rather than just introducing blanket ever decreasing road speed limits and other restrictions.
    • Speed Cameras can still be used but should be set to catch people who are driving at inappropriate speeds, not just above the default speed limit for the road.
    • Make road curtesy part of the driving test, having consideration for others on the road will probably improve driver standards generally.

PS. My original doc. also contained some ideas on carbon taxing but theres not room to

include them here.


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