The number of unlicensed vehicles being driven across the country has gone up by 85,000 in the last two years.
Statistics from the Department for Transport (DfT) have shown that in 2021, 1.9 per cent of all vehicles in UK traffic did not pay their vehicle excise duty (VED). Data have also revealed that the potential economic loss for the British state has rocketed from £35m in 2013/2014 to £113m today.
Around 55% per cent of those vehicles – excluding motorcycles – used without VED have remained untaxed for more than two months, while 13% per cent have been unlicensed for more than a year.
Numbers started to soar after the UK Government abolished in 2014 the requirement to display a valid tax disc in the windscreen of all vehicles, as it was thought to save the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) around £7m per year.
“It’s hugely concerning that we’re seeing ever greater numbers of unlicensed vehicles on the roads with the total number now standing at nearly three-quarters of a million,” said Royal Automobile Club’s head of roads policy Nicholas Lyes.
“While we’d like to think the abolition of the paper tax disc back in 2014 isn’t responsible, the fact remains evasion has increased significantly since then to the point where a shocking two in every 100 vehicles on the road aren’t taxed.
“We urge the DVLA to step up enforcement and to do all it can to bring evasion down, as it is clearly not fair on those who do pay their fair share to drive on the road.”
According to the DVLA, the pandemic has played a major part in motorists’ behaviour but the agency has continued to drive down illegal behaviour.
“We work hard to drive down vehicle tax evasion and the vast majority of motorists are doing the right thing with over 98% of vehicles on the road taxed correctly,” said DVLA’s chief executive Julie Lennard.
“Those who choose to evade will be tackled using our proven package of comprehensive enforcement measures.
“These include penalties and court prosecutions through to the use of Automatic Number Plate Recognition cameras, wheel clamping and the removal of untaxed vehicles.”