It is estimated that drivers unregistered with the DVLA escaped more than £60 million in unpaid fines and tax between 2010 and 2013.
A legal loophole has allowed overseas drivers to avoid punishment for more than 23,295 speeding offences since January 2013. That’s according to research carried out by the Institute of Advanced motorists (IAM), which says the figure is equivalent to £2.3million worth of speeding tickets.
Some of the culprits were caught driving at dangerously high speeds. One motorist, for example, hit 109mph on the A3 Hook Road in Surrey – more than double the 50mph limit. Another was caught at 111mph on the M25 in Kent. Neither offence was prosecutable.
In order to clamp down on foreign speeders, MOT evaders and vehicle tax dodgers, HMRC officials will now share the details of overseas vehicles entering the UK with local police forces and Driver Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA).
The scheme, which will be announced by Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin on the 9th of October, will start as a pilot in six counties before it is rolled out nationwide.
Previously HMRC officials did not pass on vehicle or driver information, so foreign drivers who were in the country longer than six months – and therefore legally required to register with the DVLA – could avoid doing so and flout the law without fear of reprisal.
This is because without holding any official record on foreign drivers, there is little authorities can do to monitor them. Now with the new powers in place, it will be possible to impound illegal vehicles and slap the owners with a £200 release fee.
“These vehicles are a danger on our roads and the Government is determined to crack down on foreign drivers who deliberately refuse to register and license their vehicles. We will use all of the information available to us to make sure we take tough action where necessary to keep our roads safe,” McLoughlin said.
The RAC estimates more than 350,000 vehicles have stayed in the UK longer than six months without registering with the DVLA – at a cost of £60 million.
IAM’s director of policy and research, Neil Greig said: “The high numbers of overseas speeders on our roads show how important it is that the UK gives police extra powers to pursue dangerous drivers. Progress on this issue has been very slow and in the meantime thousands of drivers are avoiding fines and bans simply because their cars cannot be easily traced.”
Pete Williams of the RAC added: “This will ultimately mean that the Treasury will gain more tax revenue which we can only hope will be put towards improving the desperate state of our roads – a constant source of frustration to motorists.”
What’s your opinion on foreign drivers who avoid tax and seriously exceed speed limits?