Letter: Vehicle license amnesty is misguided

I read the recent Compass article, that some 37,000 vehicles are unlicensed, with disbelief. Almost half of all vehicles unlicensed. It hardly seems possible.

The latest amnesty will not do much to change things, because when people read this offer from the government they will have had one of three thoughts:

  • 1. I am such a mug for paying some $200 a year when so many car owners do not and get away with it. (That is me)
  • 2. That sounds good. But no hurry. I’ll wait till November and only pay the fee from then on. Then these people will forget or change their minds.
  • 3. Why on Earth would I do that. Once I’m in the system I am stuck.

Six months is far too long to give. People will think, “Well maybe I’ll do this in November.” Then they won’t.

An effective policy would be to offer a stick along with a carrot.

Government should instead offer to waive fines and surcharges to owners who register their vehicle by the end of June and pay back duty/licence fees owed. After that amnesty period, police should impound every vehicle found without a paid license, returning them to owners only after they pay all back-fees and penalties, along with the cost of towing and impound charges. After two months, uncollected vehicles should be sold at public auction to recover the costs.

New owners should be required to provide proof of insurance and licensing before they can drive away in their vehicle.

In the UK, if your vehicle tax is not paid, the vehicle is clamped. The clamp is only removed when you pay your tax and penalties.

Norman Linton

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