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Be mindful that while you might have thought that roadworthy condition could be seen as legal tyres, safe brakes, correctly adjusted swing-arm and steering, the authorities believe it's nowhere near as important as a little round piece of paper to say you've paid for the right to expect well-maintained roads (sic)

They might be right in that many insurance companies will say in their small print that their liability extends only to roadworthy vehicles, making an untaxed vehicle into an uninsured vehicle, and driving without insurance is a heinous crime to the boys in hi-vis caps for very good reason.

It's time to shut this loophole exploited by insurance companies, but the DVLA need to get their house in order too.

It shouldn't be a problem if the vehicle is untaxed if there is still an ability to get tax to cover the time of the offence, or there is valid and genuine paperwork that can be produced to prove recent transfer of ownership and there is a valid reason for the delay with a full audit trail.

It wouldn't be so bad if the DVLA themselves didn't allow you to tax a vehicle at any point of a month, right up until midnight on the last day - which I use occasionally, in case I need to put one of the bikes on the road rather than SORN it - as was the case with the Victory and the Shovelhead when juggling bikes for Talgarth - rather than get buried in more bloody paperwork.

As long as DVLA continue to work on calendar months, that will be a difficult thing to change, but there is no practical reason any more why tax couldn't run from date purchase for six or twelve months - tax discs could be printed 'on the fly' on security paper printed at DVLA and posted, as per on-line roadtax, with Post Offices able to issue temporary ones to cover the interim. It would suit motorcyclists very well - as we've got the ability to store them off the road - as well as people buying vehicles mid-month, no longer needing to pay anything up to four weeks road tax for a time before you bought it, if you need to put it on the road straight away.

And - so bloody obvious that it's hard to believe it isn't already done - give Post Office Counters access to the central insurance/MoT record so they can confirm the status of any vehicle in the same way as the on-line system, actually closing off the potential for fraud with falsified documents.

It's hardly a data protection issue: hell, anyone can check the MoT status and history of a vehicle if they have the logbook, how complicated can it be? Just plug Post Office Counters into the Direct.Gov system and authorise them to confirm the authenticity of the V5C, which is the only thing that the on-line service cannot do ... and, in fact, the vehicle check on the car that brought all this up tells me I can tax it at a post office without a V5C anyway, so why the hell can't I do it on-line!!!

The solution to getting uninsured drivers off the road isn't straightforward, because it needs the flexibility to take a range of circumstances into account in a way that can't be exploited by the those who know how to work round the system, but the current system is a sledgehamnmer to crack a nut. It is infinitely better than something that the last government was debating, which is that all vehicles are taxed all the time, whether on the road or stored, which I suspect would mean anything issued registration number and would therefore even include boxes of bits and is tantamount to a tax on ownership.

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