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Everything You Need To Know About Paper Driving Licence Changes

October 27, 2014
Posted in Editorial — Written by Nationla Numbers

It is a scary time to be an older driver in the UK. The Driver and Vehicle Licencing Agency are doing all they can to reduce costs and put all their services online. Their latest changes saw the authority do-away with paper tax discs, which confused a lot of our customers who were unaware it was happening, and now they’ve announced plans to scrap paper tax driving licences completely.

Newer drivers might not know of paper driving licences but believe it of not the photocard many of us now hold did not get introduced until 1998. Before then your licence was a piece of paper with all your details on – including previous motoring offences, such as speeding fines – and no photo identification. Since 1998 you still get a paper licence in the form of a Counterpart, but there are many, many people in the country that still only hold the old style paper licence.


As of January 2015 the DVLA will no longer be sending out paper driving licences. Anyone renewing a paper licence will receive a photocard in return. Sound scary? Don’t worry, we’re here to help. Below is everything you need to know …

1. Your paper driving licence is still valid!

Paper licences remain valid even though the DVLA are no longer issuing them, so you can proceed as normal until you need to renew it. Paper licences do not usually need to be renewed until your 70th birthday, so mathematically there are people who have another 34 years to get used to the idea of the photocard!

2. It does not cost anything to get a photo licence.

The DVLA are allowing those with paper driving licences to receive their first photocard completely free of charge, so if you want to update to a modern licence you will not be paying out anything.

3. Photo licences are actually very useful.

I would urge anyone who has a paper licence to consider transitioning to a photocard licence simply for the convenience of it. Photocards are smaller and easier to keep on your person than the paper licence, which will crumple and tear over time. Photocards are more discretionary as they do not detail previous speeding fines and other motoring offences. I would definitely consider it.

4. None of your details will change.

When updating your driving licence to a photocard all your details will change over seamlessly. The only difference will be what you get back from the DVLA. Unfortunately this does mean penalty points will not reset and will change over also, if you were thinking it might be a good way to get around that!

5. This change will save you money.

The DVLA are doing this for a reason: it saves the Government money and it saves the general public money. It is estimated that scrapping the paper driving licence will save drivers around lb18 million every year. Plus the motor industry will save about lb2 million a year.

6. The Counterpart will be going digital.

While I admit this will not be good news for everyone, the DVLA are currently developing a digital service that will allow you to view all the information current displayed on the paper licences online. Employers, leasing companies and insurance companies will also be able to access this information, meaning you do not have to supply the information yourself.

7. There is a hefty fine for driving with an invalid licence.

I know we’re an honest lot but just in case you are not aware: if you are caught with an invalid licence, e.g. an expired paper licence, you can face a big fine of up to lb1,000. In other words, eventually you will need to give up your paper licence.


Should cyclists be made to display number plates?

October 21, 2014
Posted in Editorial — Written by Nationla Numbers

Whether you think it is right or wrong, we would all agree that cyclists get a lot of hate from motorists in Britain. I won’t go into where I personally stand on the issue because weighing up the reasons why and why not would take an entire blog post in itself! What I would like to talk about is this recent idea that is being floated around – should cyclists display number plates?

Sussex Police Commissioner, Katy Bourne, brought the idea into relevance a couple of weeks ago, saying it would make prosecution of cyclists who disregard road laws. Bourne has road safety at heart, highlighting negligent cyclists who ride through red lights and put other road users in danger. She isn’t the first with these views, I remember a few years ago Ken Livingston, Mayor of London at the time, put forward the same idea.


Speaking at a public meeting, Bourne said: ‘I would like to see cyclists wear some form of identification like cars have … This way when they go through traffic lights, you can actually identify them and then you can prosecute them for breaking the law.

Katy Bourne also made it clear she wanted equal punishment for cyclists and motorists who break the same laws. In her opinion this would make life much easier, and law enforcement easier. She would agree that this is more a case of the few spoiling it for the many, but nevertheless if a car has to be identified regardless she sees no reason why a bicycle shouldn’t have to either.

Obviously she has her opponents on this matter. The Telegraph’s Andrew Critchlow said the idea was “impossible to enforce” in his blog on the matter, and Simon Usborn of The Independent called it an “unworkable policy”. What Katy Bourne has implied about the competency of cyclists in general has also inspired heated opposition, as you would expect.

The point is that the idea, in general, is impractical. When you say cyclists should have number plates in a literal sense one would wonder how you would go about displaying them. Your average car number plate is rectangular and clunky, very awkward for the frame of the bicycle. Plates more akin to the smaller square ones motorbikes display are still a problem because there is simply nowhere to put them.

You are left with a very big decision about whether you would make a completely new design bicycles can display – and I have no idea what that would be – or you simply ban certain bikes from the road if they cannot fit a number plate, which right now is most. Another problem would be required modification to allow a place for the number plate – who will be paying for that? The cyclist?

I’m sure there are ways around this – Number plates printed on cycling jerseys? Number plates on helmets? Number plates on the side of the bicycle? One way or another it would be very hard to solve the problem of identifying the cyclist as all of these would, in someway, obscure the actual mark.

cycle number plates

The other problem is where exactly are this registration numbers coming from? For vehicles these are issued by the DVLA, and it is based on location and date of first issue, which alone is practically unenforceable. How would one go about assigning an age to a bicycle? Or would the DVLA create a new department specifically so cyclists can register their bikes for the first time? Would they then sideline a specific combination of registration marks like they do with exported vehicles – CY15 ABC for example?

We’ve explained how number plate formats work in the past, but even if we can work it out that is still a huge strain on the DVLA. By estimation there is about 3.5million regular cyclists in the country (based on recent sales and survey statistics), and 43% of the country have access to a cycle as well – all presumably would need to be registered. That is a lot of unique number plates the DVLA would have to give out, presumably for free.

Not to mention how you would go about enforcing which bicycles are road worthy or not. At what point would a recreational bike become a road bike? There are way too many variables that would make this entirely impossible, unless you do something over-drastic like outright banning certain types of bicycles from the road completely, and that is not something people would be enthused about.

It is hard to disagree with Katy Bourne’s original sentiments – it should be as easy to report a cyclist who has broken the law as it is for a dangerous driver, if just for the continued safety of road users, but there is no magic bullet for this problem. The world of vehicle registrations is complicated and the last thing that needs to be done is to rush into it without a plan, and a plan itself would take years to iron out.

I echo statements made by others: Rather than instigate a War of the Roads between cyclists and motorists we should be more focused on building a respectful relationship between the two and encourage the education of proper road use. That is the best, and so far only practical, solution to help protect both drivers and cyclists alike, as well as pedestrians.


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How the Tax Disc Changes with Affect You?

October 10, 2014
Posted in DVLA,Editorial,Other News — Written by Nationla Numbers

If you have taxed since October 1st you will have noticed something different in how the DVLA issue tax discs to you. In fact it is very different, because they don’t issue a tax disc at all any more. You still have to tax your vehicle but you do not get anything to display.

The recent launch of this new system has been nothing less than chaotic with the website crashing on the very first day due to what has been called “unprecedented demand”. Servers are back up and running though and approximately 270,000 people have been through to process. However there are still millions of people unclear on how these changes affect the grand scheme of things. The article should hopefully cover the issues.

UK Tax Disc

How does this affect number plate transfers?

In order to transfer a number plate any vehicle involved needs to be taxed and as proof of this a copy of the tax disc must be sent to us at Nationla Numbers so we can forward it to the DVLA. In the event that a copy of the tax disc could not be sent to us we could get by with the expiry date and the serial number. We still advise you still send us this when possible.

If you no longer have a tax disc we technically will not need to take anything, as the DVLA should acknowledge the vehicle as taxed when the transfer is submitted. However because of this we cannot conduct any checks ourselves. E.g. in the past if we receive a tax disc that looks like it will expire before transfer is complete we would advise customers to send us the tax application as well to avoid delays.

Customers must be mindful of when their tax expires and how long the transfer can take as if it is submitted and the tax runs out the DVLA will simply kick it out and we’ll have to start from scratch. For that reason we will still likely ask for tax information such as the expiry date.

How does this affect the DVLA?

The DVLA claim that the new paperless tax disc system will save them lb10million annually thanks to the obvious need for less printing and posting. Administration processes are set to receive a cut because of the increasing amount of paperless services – including the ability to tax online.

DVLA are striving to do away with as many pieces of paper as possible. They’ve already announced plans to do-away with old style paper driving licences at the end of the year, sending out photocards to anyone who renews afterwards, and they will only continue to streamline more and more of their processes in the future.

How does this affect the public?

In theory the public should receive a simple and easy service without much hassle at all. As of November 1st the DVLA will start allowing direct debit payments on tax renewals, which is immensely convenient, as well as the ability to pay for tax monthly (previously drivers only had the option to pay for 6 or 12 months). The DVLA have made these changes with the public very much in mind.

One source though explains that disc-less tax could end up costing taxpayers an extra lb38million every year due primarily to the sale of used vehicles. Previously when a vehicle was sold the owner could pass unused tax to the new owner, but this has been changed. Now all new owners would be expected to tax the vehicle from the 1st of every month and the seller will only be refunded on whole months of unused tax.

e.g. A sale on a vehicle taxed until the end of November goes through on October 25th. The seller of that vehicle will receive a refund for November while buyer pays two months tax for the rest of October and November. In that case the DVLA have gained an extra month of tax than they would under the old system. At an average of lb14 for monthly tax and 2.73million cars sold annually you can see how DVLA will be making a pretty penny.

Will this lead to more untaxed vehicles?

There is a fear that the removal of the tax disc could lead to more drivers deliberately or mistakenly driving around without any tax or insurance. In a survey conducted by the RAC 63% or drivers were worried about this, while 44% believed it would encourage drivers to break the law. While admittedly it would be impossible for members of the public to spot and report untaxed vehicles it should actually be easier for authorities to catch tax dodgers thanks to speed cameras.

Speed cameras use number plate recognition to identify vehicles and bring up a digital record of the tax. Unpaid duty is immediately flagged up and a fine is automatically issued to the driver’s address. Unless a driver somehow manages to avoid all speed cameras it’d be almost impossible for them to last long without tax and insurance.

Of course, some technophobes argue that digital records are unreliable and could lead to some drivers being wrongfully fined, but this remains to be seen. The DVLA will still be issuing tax reminders to motorists coming up to their renewal date and warnings to drivers that have let their tax expire, so there should not be an issue will drivers simply forgetting they need to tax their vehicle.

What should I do with my old tax disc?

Well, we have a few ideas …


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10 Things To Do with Your Old Tax Disc

October 7, 2014
Posted in Humour — Written by Nationla Numbers

1. Coaster

How to use old tax disc

2. Cufflinks


3. Biscuit Holder


4. Collect Them


Meet boy with tax disc obsession!

5. Moustache


6. Art Work

tdart @ImaginativePlay


7. Hybrid Vehicle Booster Pack


8. Sell Them


Could your tax disc be worth lb1,000?

9. Display Notes


10. SNAP!

tdsnap via spidersnet.co.uk

via. spidersnet.co.uk