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DVLA clamps down on illegal foreign cars

Tue, 01 Jul 2014 00:00:00 -0700

A DVLA clampdown on illegal foreign-registered cars is proving to be a success, with 237 vehicles targeted over the last two months.

Cars can legally be used on British roads with foreign plates for a maximum of six months before they need to display a UK registration.

Drivers who fail to do this will face a fine based on the cost of road tax for the period beyond this time.

According to Auto Express, the DVLA is sharing data on to four participating police forces: Thames Valley, Hampshire, West Midlands and Northamptonshire.

Police seize vehicles that overstay

Police can seize vehicles if they have overstayed the six-month period. However, until recently, there was no way of knowing how many cars on foreign plates were in the UK or had overstayed.

Many foreign cars could be being driven on our roads without insurance

The DVLA is now collecting data from the public and police to clampdown on the issue, as part of a three-month trial that could be rolled out nationwide.

Since the operation was introduced in April 2014, 237 vehicles have been caught, compared to just 84 in the entire previous year. In 2012, the figure was just 59.

Roads minister Stephen Hammond:

“If the pilot is successful, the DVLA will explore the potential for extending it to more forces. The DVLA’s also working with other agencies to establish what other data might be used to identify overstaying foreign registered vehicles.”

Driving a car with a foreign plate in the UK makes it exempt from yearly MOT safety checks, as well as being able to dodge fines from speed cameras and traffic wardens.

It’s also more difficult for the police to find out whether it’s insured, meaning many foreign cars could be being driven on our roads without adequate cover – which will certainly be a problem for anyone involved in an accident with them.

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By Andrew Brady, Motoring Research