Drivers are to be released from reams of red tape currently required by government, Transport Secretary Justine Greening announced today. As a result of the Road Transport Red Tape Challenge – the government wide process to get rid of unnecessary, burdensome and overcomplicated regulation - the Department for Transport is:
Scrapping the regulation requiring motorists to hold a paper counterpart to their driving licence by 2015 – saving drivers up to £8m.
Improving the regulation surrounding the notification process for vehicles that are not in use on the road (Statutory Off Road Notification or SORN). Once drivers have notified the DVLA that their vehicle is SORN, they will no longer have the burden of annual SORN renewal.
Only issuing hard-copies of V5C vehicle registration certificates for fleet operators when needed, with the potential to be rolled out to private motorists.
Introducing a limited exemption from drivers’ hours rules so that those who also drive as Territorial Army reservists in their own time can continue to do so.
Following a vigorous process of challenge, both by the public and within Whitehall, a total of 142 road transport regulations will now be scrapped or improved.
Justine Greening said;
“Motorists shouldn’t have to keep numerous bits of paper just to prove they can drive and have bought insurance – we live in digital age and we need to embrace that. Reducing the number of rules and regulations in our life is absolutely vital to removing barriers to economic growth and increasing individual freedoms. This whole process just proves that there’s so much sitting on our statute books that at the very least needs a good spring clean or can be scrapped entirely.”
Business and Enterprise Minister Mark Prisk said:
“I'm delighted that so many motoring regulations will be scrapped or improved, particularly those that affect business. The Red Tape Challenge has built up real momentum since it was launched in April. Overall, of over 1,200 regulations considered so far, we have agreed to scrap or improve well over 50 per cent. We have already published regulations covering 12 themes, and there are 13 themes to come, so there remains huge scope for reducing the burden of regulation on business and individuals even further.”
Other proposed changes to road transport regulations include:
Removing the need for an insurance certificate. The Department for Transport will work with the insurance industry on removing the need for motorists to have to hold an insurance certificate.
Abolishing the requirement for drivers to prove they have insurance when applying for tax meaning 600,000 more people will be able to tax their car online. This has been made possible by new checks of existing databases for insurance under new Continuous Insurance Enforcement rules. The DVLA’s records are compared regularly with the Motor Insurance Database (MID) to identify registered keepers of vehicles that appear to have no insurance.
We will look at experience in other countries on driver Certificates of Professional Competence (CPC) - the qualification for professional bus, coach and lorry drivers. In particular, to see if we could remove the need for some sectors, such as farmers who drive stock to market, from needing a CPC.
Local Authorities will now have to ensure business interests are properly considered as part of any future proposed Workplace Parking Levy scheme. They must show they have properly and effectively consulted local businesses, have addressed any proper concerns raised and secured support from the local business community.
Abolishing the regulations on the treatment of lost property on buses. Bus companies currently have to wait 48 hours before they can throw away perishable items left on the bus.
Plans to take driving tests closer to candidates
Driving test candidates could benefit from a more local service as the Driving Standards Agency (DSA) carries out a trial exploring a new approach to test delivery.
As well as using conventional driving test centres, DSA is looking at whether tests could also be delivered from other venues such as local authority buildings, hotels or leisure centres. The trials will provide practical car tests in selected areas that no longer have a local test centre, but still have a significant demand for tests. The aim is to provide a service for the local community and ensure that candidates are able to take their test at convenient locations.
Road Safety Minister Mike Penning said:
"I want us to be more flexible and innovative in delivering driving tests to make sure that we are offering people the best service possible wherever they live. Our aim is to provide a more local service that is both convenient for candidates and cost effective."
The trials are due to take place in seven locations across Britain: Ashford, Ayrshire, Dumbarton, Louth, Warrington, Wiltshire and one location in Wales that is still to be decided. The trials will be monitored to assess any impact on levels of customer service and the cost of delivery, as well as making sure the integrity of the test is maintained.
DSA will then decide whether the trials can be rolled out to other areas without a test centre where there is a significant demand, and where suitable routes and venues can be identified. The trials will only involve practical car tests; theory test centres will not be affected.
You can find copies of the local press releases on the Department for Transport website
More driving test candidates to benefit from better local services
Driving test candidates across the country are set to benefit from a more convenient service as the Driving Standards Agency (DSA) extends a trial exploring a new approach to test delivery.
As well as using conventional driving test centres, the DSA has been looking at whether practical driving tests can be delivered from other venues such as local authority buildings, hotels or leisure centres. This new approach is currently being trialled at eight locations, and following positive feedback from candidates and instructors, the DSA now plans to extend the scheme to five more areas across the country.
Road Safety Minister Mike Penning said:
"We have to be more flexible and innovative in delivering driving tests to make sure that we are offering people the best service possible wherever they live and I am delighted that these first trials have proved successful. "We are now extending the trial so that more candidates will be able to benefit from a service that is convenient as well as being cost effective."
The DSA plans to further develop this model and extend the scheme across areas in and surrounding: Watford, Manchester, Kettering, Glasgow and Worcester. In each area, DSA will look to identify a number of locations where there is sufficient demand for local test provision. Tests could be provided from local authority buildings, or from local businesses such as hotels or retail outlets.
As part of the longer term planning for driving test delivery, the DSA is looking for opportunities to work in partnership with the private sector across the country. Tests will still be conducted by DSA examiners, but the agency is inviting businesses who may be interested in providing premises for delivering driving tests to register their interest. A Prior Information Notice is being published in the Official Journal of the European Union and the agency hopes to attract interest from a wide section of the business community.