News story

Scrapping unnecessary checks will save honest motorists around £10 million a year

From today, drivers returning a written off car to the road will no longer need to apply for a Vehicle Identity Check.

Cars

Unnecessary vehicle checks that cost drivers millions will be scrapped, the Department for Transport has announced. The move will save motorists an estimated £9.7 million a year and cut around £4.8 million of costs incurred by UK businesses.

From today (26 October 2015), drivers returning a written off car to the road will no longer need to apply for a Vehicle Identity Check (VIC) to prove their vehicle matches the registration details.

The VIC was introduced in 2003 to stop vehicle ringing - where criminals make it easier to sell stolen cars by swapping the identity of cars no longer economical to repair with a stolen vehicle of a similar make and model. Advances in technology, and the fact that most vehicles returned to the road have been in the hands of the same keeper for 7 years or more, mean this check has become unnecessary. Scrapping the VIC scheme will make it easier and cheaper for motorists and businesses to return repairable written off vehicles to the road.

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said:

The government is on the side of the honest motorist which is why we are scrapping this scheme which flies in the face of common sense and creates an unnecessary burden. It will save motorists and businesses millions every year.

During the past 12 years around a million checks have been made, resulting in only a handful of actual cases of wrongdoing.

In scrapping the scheme the Department for Transport has also taken into account:

  • major advances over the past decade in vehicle security which deter the low-level criminals for whom the VIC scheme was initially set up to combat
  • advances in online resources, which allow secure checks to take place without a paper check
  • vehicles being equipped with increasingly sophisticated mechanical and electronic security methods

A VIC currently costs £41 plus the time and inconvenience to people and businesses. The decision to abolish the scheme was taken following a consultation and review by the DfT.

Write-offs can be divided into 2 categories:

  • an actual loss where the vehicle cannot and should not be repaired (salvage category A or B) - these will not be re-registered by the DVLA
  • a constructive loss (salvage category C or D), where the vehicle could be repaired but the cost of doing so would exceed the replacement value of the vehicle

This is explained in more detail in the insurers’ voluntary code of practice on motor vehicle salvage.

Following the abolition of VIC the DVLA will no longer issue a vehicle registration document (V5C) for Category A and B vehicles. This will help to ensure that the most seriously damaged vehicles are processed via the end of life vehicle arrangements in line with the insurance industry code of practice for the disposal of motor vehicle salvage.

The department has worked with the insurance industry to produce a consumer guide to better inform and protect the public when purchasing a used vehicle, especially one that has previously been declared a write-off.

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Published 26 October 2015