RAC Cars News


DVLA Website Unable To Cope With New VED System

By raccars Published

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The DVLA saw its website collapse this week on the first day of its new system for road tax payments. Thousands of car owners applied online for their VED, causing the website to crash for a number of hours, leaving applicants without their tax.

After 93 years of the paper tax disc signifying that car owners have paid their VED, the DVLA has introduced a system of payment and enforcement, that sees automatic number plate recognition. Cameras and checks by police with access to the DVLA database will be used to identify tax dodgers and car owners will be able to pay for their VED via monthly direct debit. While the easier payment options will help struggling car owners to comply with their obligations, critics of the scheme suggest it will encourage people to try and dodge tax payments, believing that they won't get caught. Car owners who fail to tax their vehicles will be subject to a £1,000 fine if caught.

According to the DVLA, it was forced to shut down its website at midnight on Wednesday 1st October, the first day of the new electronic scheme, under the weight of 6,000 applications per minute. It is believed that a number of people rushed to use the website to apply for their tax as they did not realise the process could still be completed at the Post Office. The website was pressured not only by those trying to renew their tax online but also those visiting the website for information about the new system. Social media website, Twitter, was full of disparaging comments by those trying and failing to tax their cars via the DVLA website.

However, the DVLA has claimed that 270,000 applications were successfully processed by its website on 1 October, a 30,000 increase compared to the same day in 2013.

The scheme has received a huge amount of criticism from motoring groups and the auto press, with surveys showing that car owners have failed to understand the impact of the new electronic system and how it will affect them. There have also been accusations of money grabbing, as those selling cars partway through the month will not be able to reclaim tax already paid for the remainder but only from the next full month, but the car's buyer will be obliged to tax the same vehicle for the whole of the purchase month.

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