RAC Cars News


DVLA Hunting Down Unregistered Foreign Vehicles

By raccars Published

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The DVLA is very pleased with the results of a recent pilot programme to track down and penalise the owners of unregistered foreign cars in the UK. The six week pilot scheme could now be expanded to cover a wider area in the long term.

Foreign vehicles can retain their registration for six months in the UK before the law obliges them to re-register the car with the DVLA and use UK plates. To do so, owners must pay a registration fee, VED and acquire an MoT for vehicles older than three years. Those who outstay the six months receive an out of court penalty fine, based upon the average price of VED and the length of the transgression. The period can be taken as six consecutive months or spread out in smaller periods over 12 months and the car must be legally registered and taxed in its own country. The vehicle owners must be able to provide a ferry ticket to prove its date of entry into the UK.

The Department of Transport last year revealed concerns that the number of foreign vehicles driving illegally on UK roads not only loses revenue but is potentially dangerous, as many of these cars could be untested and, therefore, unsafe.

The new scheme allows the DVLA to share data with the Hampshire, Northamptonshire, Thames Valley and West Midlands police forces, who are empowered to seize the offending vehicles. A successful six week trial period saw 237 cars caught, far more than the 59 vehicle total for 2012-13 and the 84 of 2013-14. An extension of the scheme to three months has been granted and should the results continue, the operation could be applied countrywide.

After criticism that the law was not being enforced with foreign car owners, the DVLA is using data collected from police forces and other enforcement organisations, as well as the general public, to help it identify the offending vehicles. The agency is also researching other methods of tracking them down.

Similarly, the government is considering proposals that would allow British police forces to issue on the spot fines to foreign truck drivers, for offences such as driving while tired. Police would have the power to apply penalties for the offence for up to 28 days later, according to current EU regulations. At the moment, UK authorities find it difficult to apply court summons to foreign motorists in the UK without a valid British address.

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