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Vehicle licensing and drivers licenses – removal of the need for paper counterparts

Comment 23rd August 2010

My idea is to remove the legal requirement to keep a paper copy of a vehicle registration certificate and paper counterpart of a drivers license. Not only are these documents a paid to keep safe and somewhere one can find them, but apparently the paper on which they are printed is strangely valuable as new driver's license counterpart replacements for lost/defaced ones costs over £20 and new registration certificates cost £25.

The DVLA and police have these details on file and are able to access them without the need for paper copies. So why should we be required to have paper copies?

 

Let me give a bit of background to explain my position and also admittedly a bit of a rant:

 

I am a first-time car owner and, on trying to find out when I needed to MOT the car, I was told that I needed my 'logbook' in order to do this. I'll state this now, this is not the issue, but I promise that I am getting to it! I looked through all my documents and found nothing which bore the name 'logbook', so I paid £25 for one to be sent out.

Around 2 weeks later I got a document from the DVLA, looking forward to having the necessary documentation in order to find out when I had to MOT my vehicle I opened it to find a new registration certificate, but I already had one of those, it was a logbook which I needed (at no point was I made aware that a registration certificate is the same as a logbook, this is not on any documentation) I was quite angry that I had been charged £25 only to be sent the wrong document and I ripped it up and threw it away. I knew that it was at least a few months away.

Three months later, or so, I got my road tax bill (again, the paper is strangely valuable) and on trying to pay it, I was told my registration certificate wasn't valid (the had received at the time of purchasing the vehicle), I didn't understand this so I queried it, but still had the money and wanted to pay the road tax. He advised me that I had been sent a new one, so the one I had in my hand was no longer valid. After much slightly heated discussion he agreed to give me the number from the replacement document which I had thrown away, so that I could pay it, but I had to use the DVLA phone service to renew my road tax (I'm not even going to start about their phone service). He told me that I would also need another new vehicle registration certificate and it would cost me £25.

Needless to say I was outraged, I knew it was only £25, but I'm not well off. As anyone knows, in this financial climate, £25 is quite a lot of money to shell out for something, especially when you'd already paid  £25 unnecessarily, due to not being given the appropriate information (that a vehicle registration document is a logbook).

My apologies for the rambling, but this an issue I feel very strongly about. I have been pulled over twice: once for putting my headlights on after my vehicle had been in motion for less than a second (a very minor incident to which I wasn't even given a warning for) and the other time, I am quite ashamed of this, for running a red light at 1 o'clock in the morning (sober, I might add, I'm am completely against drink driving) on an empty road (apart from the police car, apparently), for this I was given a warning. Neither time was I asked for any documentation, not even my drivers license photocard which begs the question why do we really need to have them?

Why does this matter?

In our current economic and environmental climate, it is irresponsible to be wasting so many financial and environmental resources for these unnecessary documents.

Our photocards, yes, these are necessary evils as they provide identification for more than just the police and DVLA (for those of us who are lucky enough to look under 18, despite being in our mid-twenties or older/younger). But the paper counterpart and vehicle registration document A.K.A 'logbook' (If these need to be kept I would like to suggest this be added somewhere on the registration certificate to save further misunderstandings) are completely unnecessary.

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