Government ‘slashes’ motoring red tape

12.09 | 16 December 2011 | | 2 comments

Justine Greening, transport secretary, has announced that drivers are to be released from ‘reams of red tape’ currently required by Government.

As a result of the ‘road transport red tape challenge’ – part of the Government-wide process to get rid of unnecessary, burdensome and overcomplicated regulation – 142 road transport regulations will now be scrapped or improved, including:

  • Scrapping the regulation requiring motorists to hold a paper counterpart to their driving license by 2015.
  • 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 for this 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.

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.”


The IAM welcomed the initiative while at the same time asking the DfT to consider the potential impact on road safety.

Simon Best, IAM chief executive, said: “We welcome the changes to reduce motorists’ red tape. The improvements made to Statutory off Road Notification (SORN) mean the end of receiving fines for not telling the DVLA something they already know.

“But we would urge the department to carefully consider how any changes would impact on road safety, particularly the suggested proposals for removing driver CPC (Certificate for Professional Competence) for some sectors. We suggest that the department clarifies which drivers still require the driver CPC at the earliest opportunity and encourage those drivers who do need to do periodic training to get started.”

AA Insurance welcomed the revision of SORN notifications, saying: “This is nonsense for those who, for example, are restoring a car over the long term or live overseas for most of the time and have a vehicle laid up. I’m glad to see that the SORN will in future be continuous until such time as the car is once again used on the public highway.”

Click here to read the full DfT press release.


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    If the counterpart driving licence is to be removed how will people such as motorcycle training schools, car hire companies etc know that the person is all legal?

    Paul Reeve, Suffolk
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    I would urge the DFT not to scrap rules without very careful consideration of possible consequences. When I learned to drive I could not supervise a learner for at least a year but our daughter was killed because at some point this restriction was removed. Having worked hard to obtain protective legislation, I am not confident that removing restrictions is always wise.

    Vicki Stone MBE
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