The driving and motoring industry, like many others, is under close and constant scrutiny. This had led to many changes being made recently in order to keep things current. These changes range from a crackdown on car insurance fraud, to a freeze on MOT test prices, to a new government agency for transport – there’s even been a scheme announced designed to reduce the cost of fuel at motorway service stations.
Not all of these changes will affect every motorist, but with them rapidly coming into effect throughout 2014, I thought now would be a good time to help others understand these changes within the driving industry more easily.
New Transport Agency Name Announced
On 28th November last year, the Minister for Transport Robert Goodwill announced that from April 2014 there would be a new combined agency replacing both the Driving Standards Agency (DSA) and Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA).
The new government agency is called the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) and it is now the sole agency fully responsible for enforcing driver and vehicle standards across the United Kingdom. You can find out more about them here, though be aware that the agency is being rebranded slowly, to keep costs to a minimum.
New Measures to Help with the Cost of Driving
The government has announced that new measures are being introduced to help tackle the costs involved with running a car. Justice Secretary Chris Grayling said;
“It’s not right that people who cheat the insurance system get away with it while forcing up the price for everyone else. We are turning the tide on the compensation culture and helping hard working people by tackling high insurance premiums and other motoring costs”.
According to the government the cost of car insurance has already been lowered by more than 12% in the last year – which is the equivalent of an average £80 saving per policy. They now plan to tackle insurance scams, such as whiplash fraud, harder than ever.
Other measures include freezing the cost of an MOT at £54.85, while the Transport Minister Robert Goodwill announced that the government are also looking at the costs associated with getting a driving licence, along with a possible trial of motorway signs that will display to motorists the different fuel prices available for their route.
Foreign Language Driving Tests End
Since 7th April 2014 driving test candidates are no longer able to use foreign language interpreters or voiceovers. Transport Minister Stephen Hammond said;
“It is essential that all road users have the right skills to use our roads safely and responsibly. By stopping driving tests in foreign languages we will cut out the risk of fraud, and help to ensure that all drivers can read road signs and fully understand the rules of the road.”
The decision was also a factor in tackling driving theory test fraud, in which driving instructors were suspected of helping foreign language pupils cheat, by passing them the answers.
Abolition of the Tax Disc
On 5th December 2013 the Department for Transport announced that the law is changing in regards to vehicle tax, in an effort to help with cutting unnecessary administration costs. From 1st November, motorists are able to spread the cost of vehicle tax more easily by paying monthly via direct debit.
From 1st October 2014 the paper tax disc will no longer be issued. This means that you will no longer need to display a paper vehicle tax disc within your vehicle windscreen. We live in much more digital world and with the latest figures showing that 99% of motorists pay their vehicle tax on time coupled with the fact that most road enforcement is carried out by the police via automatic numberplate readers, displaying a paper tax disc has become unnecessary.
About the Author:
Hayley Reeve is a writer for Driving Guru, the learner drivers advice guide. She also writes automotive articles for a large number of motoring businesses across the UK.
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