Memorandum by Driver and Vehicle Licensing
Agency (IT 182)
1. We have used the paragraph numbering in your
letter to Pauline Gaunt for our responses.
Q1. We would be interested to know what amendments
to section 172 of the Road Traffic Act the police are seeking.
No approach has been made to the DVLA or the Department.
Q1(a) Details of the current keeper of a vehicle
are passed by DVLA to the Police National Computer. Details of
the keeper at the date of event are passed to Local Authorities
in the investigation of parking offences. If the driver cannot
be traced from this information, details of all previous keepers
are provided to both the police and local authorities.
Q1(b) We are not clear what changes to the DVLA
database the police require. However the Agency has recently completed
a study of the various options to enable the driver of a vehicle
to be more easily identified. The options were:
(i) Hold the driver number on the vehicle
record. Primary legislation would be required and there would
be significant development and ongoing running costs (in the order
of £3 million per annum).
(ii) Development of a Common Address File.
This would involve a complete restructuring of the driver and
vehicle databases so that only one address and person details
is held for any individual. In effect a link between the driver
and vehicle databases would be developed. Legislative changes
would be required and development costs are estimated at between
£2 million and £3 million.
(iii) Use Third Party Sources to Identify
the Driver. Sources include the proposed insurance database,
credit reference agencies and a company which is in the process
of developing a "sterile address" file which it is claimed
will be able to identify individuals and where they live. Further
research would be required to ascertain the potential suitability
of the above suppliers and costings.
The likely development costs of any of these
initiatives present significant difficulties for the Agency. In
that respect, there is the potential for us to take the opportunity
presented by the Vehicle Crime Reduction Action Team (VCRAT) initiative
to acquire the appropriate funding from the Home Office.
In the meantime, the Agency continues to recognise
the importance of an accurate and up to date vehicle register.
DVLA is acutely aware of its responsibilities in this area and
has introduced a number of initiatives designed to improve the
quality of the vehicle register.
In 1997 the Agency introduced the Statutory
Off Road Notification (SORN) schemenew vehicle registration
procedures to enhance the register and facilitate VED enforcement.
SORN was introduced in two phases. First, Dual Notification (DN)
required both the disposer and acquirer of a vehicle to notify
the transaction to DVLA at the same time and on the same form.
Indications are that since the introduction of DN that changes
to vehicle keepership are being notified much sooner than would
otherwise have been the case. From 1 February 1998, the second
phase required the keeper of the vehicle to notify DVLA if the
vehicle was to be kept off road and unlicensed.
Q1(c) DVLA has supported the European Directive
to introduce a Harmonised registration document by 2003. This
is a useful and practical measure that will assist vehicle enforcement
authorities across the Community in the fight against vehicle
crime. Political agreement on the Draft Directive has been reached
at the Council of Ministers and it awaits a second reading in
the European Parliament. The proposed harmonised registration
document will allow the Member States to record details of owners,
keepers and lessees of vehicles, aiding in particular the speedy
identification of the drivers of leased and company cars.
Q2(a) The UK already exchanges vehicle information
electronically with several other European Countries via the European
Vehicle and Driving Licence Systems (EUCARIS).
Q2(b) The domestic legislation of participating
countries combined with Data Protection legislation has precluded
the exchange of personal details with regard to vehicle keepers/owners,
although personal details are available on EUCARIS in relation
to driving licences.
Vehicle Policy Group
12 February 1999