Magazine article The Spectator

Dodgers Beware

Magazine article The Spectator

Dodgers Beware

Article excerpt

Forget spy-on-your-car road pricing (but, remember, it would work only if prices are penal), forget fuel costs, forget the stealth tax on insurance and consider this: if you don't keep your road-fund licence up to date, you may not get a mortgage.

After decades of inaction, the DVLA is at last doing something about habitual non-payers. For the past year they have been applying for County Court Judgments (CCJs) against licence dodgers who fail to pay the £80 fine. Previously, persistent offenders got away with it time after time, as many still do with insurance because the fines are less than the premiums. Now, a CCJ against you results in a minimum fine of £1,550 and a six-year entry on your credit record. Banks, credit-card companies, insurers, mortgage lenders and many employers take CCJs seriously. Even if it doesn't actually prevent you getting the mortgage or loan, it will mean higher interest.

About 80,000 people suffered this punishment in the second half of last year. The remaining 91 per cent of dodgers (DVLA figures) paid up in time to avoid it. With an estimated 1.75 million untaxed vehicles on the roads, the Treasury must be rubbing its hands. But it would be interesting to know how many persistent offenders actually pay their £1,550 fines and how many have jobs, mortgages and (their own) credit cards. Make sure you leave a forwarding address if you move - you could otherwise acquire a CCJ without knowing it.

Perhaps because it's been with us for so long, road tax is generally accepted. Speed cameras still aren't. Although it's hard to argue against the enforcement of speed limits, whatever you think of the speeds they're set at, these devices generate as much ill-will as revenue. This is partly because their siting often appears to have more to do with raising revenue than reducing accidents and partly because of their inflexibility. A law-abiding driver who accidentally strays over the limit now and again - which is all of us - is punished as harshly as someone who regularly speeds. It must be one of the few areas of law where lack of mens rea and a clean record is no mitigation. And now the Road Safety Bill is to make it illegal to use radar-based camera detectors, despite the fact that these might contribute as much to reducing accident rates as the cameras themselves. You'll still be able to use devices that work by satellite positioning, however, because their primary purpose is navigation, although they record only fixed-site cameras. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.