Driving Standards Agency (DSA)‘s photo.

The only official theory and practical driving test booking website is www.gov.uk/booktheory and www.gov.uk/bookdrivingtest. Unofficial websites can charge you much more to book your test.

Since 2011 we’ve made 22 complaints to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) about unofficial driving test booking websites. In 11 cases, the sites agreed to change their advertising to make sure it wasn’t misleading.

In the other 11 cases, the ASA investigated the sites – they upheld our complaint in 9 cases and ordered the sites to make changes.

The ASA is now urging anyone who has been misled by a ‘copycat website’ to make a complaint: www.asa.org.uk/News-resources/Media-Centre/2013/Have-you-been-misled-by-a-copycat-website.aspx

We continue to monitor these sites and explore new ways to counteract their activities.


Government to overhaul young driver rules in bid to improve safety and cut insurance costs

Green paper on improving the safety and reducing risks to young drivers launched.

Road vehicles

Young drivers could benefit from improved training and lower insurance premiums as the government confirmed its intention to launch a green paper on improving the safety and reducing risks to young drivers.

The proposals were unveiled today at a summit for the motor insurance industry, hosted by the Department for Transport. Representatives from the Ministry of Justice, Department for Health and consumer organisation uSwitch were also present. The government is expecting the changes to result in a reduction in the high cost of vehicle insurance currently facing motorists – especially young drivers.

A green paper looking at a range of options for improving the safety of newly-qualified drivers will be published later in the spring. Among the proposals being considered are:

  • a minimum learning period before candidates are permitted to sit their test
  • enabling learner drivers to take lessons on motorways, and perhaps during adverse weather conditions or during darkness to encourage greater practice prior to taking a test
  • increasing the existing probationary period from 2 to 3 years for a new driver’s licence to be revoked if they receive 6 or more penalty points
  • making the driving test more rigorous to better prepare learners to drive unsupervised
  • incentives for young drivers to take up additional training after passing their test.

The government is also considering the possibility of imposing temporary restrictions on newly qualified drivers and further details will be included for discussion when the green paper is published.

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said:

It is alarming that a fifth of people killed or seriously injured on our roads in 2011 were involved in a collision where at least one driver was aged 17 to 24. Improving the safety of our young drivers is therefore a real priority and will not only reduce casualties but should also mean a reduction in the sky-high insurance premiums they pay.

I have been clear that I want to see insurance premiums reflecting conditions, performance and risks on the road. We have already done much as a government to address the concerns around motor insurance but more still needs to be done before young drivers feel satisfied they are getting value for money. I look forward to working with the industry and hearing from them how these proposals will help reduce premiums.

Justice Minister Helen Grant said:

Honest drivers should not have to foot the bill for a system that has been exploited by others to generate large profits for themselves. We have taken major steps to put this right, including changing no-win no-fee deals so lawyers can no longer double their money, banning behaviour which encourages questionable claims and tackling the whiplash problem. This will all help to create savings that insurers can pass on to their customers through lower premiums.

Today’s (25 March 2013) summit follows an inaugural meeting held at No10 Downing Street last year. A number of changes have already been implemented to address a range of concerns relating to motor insurance. These include:

  • introducing Continuous Insurance Enforcement, making it illegal to own an uninsured vehicle unless it is registered SORN
  • recently consulting on increasing the penalty for uninsured driving
  • transforming no win, no fee law suits so that, from April, lawyers will no longer be able to double their fees if they win (at the expense of the defendant and their insurers)
  • banning ‘referral fees’ paid between lawyers, insurers, claims firms, garages and others trading in profitable accident claims, also from April
  • banning claims firms from offering upfront cash incentives or other gifts to people who bring claims to them, from April. Recommend a friend deals will also be banned
  • cracking down on the number of whiplash claims – the Ministry of Justice has consulted on proposals including setting up independent medical panels to improve injury assessment and increasing the small claims court limit so more questionable claims can be challenged by insurers

Notes to editors

In addition to the measures outlined above, the government is also considering improving the training of driving instructors. Information would also be made available to parents and young drivers on what to look for when choosing an instructor, as we well as evidence on the most risky behaviours and how to avoid them.

The following organisations were present at the summit held at the Department for Transport:

  • Association of British Insurers
  • Admiral Insurance
  • Aviva UK and Ireland
  • Axa UK and Ireland
  • Co-operative insurance
  • RBS Insurance
  • RSA Group
  • Zurich UK
  • The Motor Insurers Bureau
  • The British Insurance Brokers’ Association
  • uSwitch
  • HM Treasury
  • Driving Standards Agency

The Department for Transport has also published some qualitative research today on attitudes amongst young drivers and parents to driver training, driving and motor insurance.

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Direct Debit and abolition of the tax disc

Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency

Page history:
Published 5 December 2013
Making roads safer
Topical event:
Autumn Statement 2013

The government is changing the law in 2014 to reduce tax administration costs and burdens associated with vehicle tax.

Tax disc

The Department for Transport (DfT) made clear in its recent Motoring Services Strategy consultation that the government is committed to offering high quality and cost effective services to the public and businesses. DfT and DVLA have listened to the views of both businesses and the public to remove unnecessary burden and provide modern and efficient services to meet their needs. This includes getting rid of unnecessary paper where possible and making it easier for people and businesses to use government services.

Today (Thursday 5 December 2013), the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced that the government will change the law in 2014 to reduce tax administration costs and burdens associated with vehicle tax.

DVLA will offer motorists the ability to spread their vehicle tax payments should they wish to do so. From 1 October 2014 motorists will be able to pay vehicle tax by direct debit annually, biannually or monthly. There will be no additional handling fees for annual payments but to limit the impact on the public finances there will be a small surcharge of 5% of vehicle tax for biannual and monthly payments. This is half of the 10% surcharge that is currently applied to 6 monthly tax discs and which has been in existence for a number of decades.

Also from 1 October 2014, the paper tax disc, first issued on 1 January 1921, will no longer be issued and required to be displayed on a vehicle windscreen. Vehicle tax will still need to be paid but with DVLA having a digital record of who has and has not paid, a paper tax disc is no longer necessary as proof that vehicle tax is paid. The vast majority of motorists pay their vehicle tax with latest figures confirming that over 99% of motorists’ tax their vehicles on time… Most on-road enforcement action is now based on using Automatic Number Plate Readers. These cameras use the number plate rather than a visual inspection of the tax disc. The police also have access to DVLA records via the police national computer. There are significant savings for fleet operators and other businesses from not having to handle the administration of tax discs.