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many drivers still displaying a tax disc

Three million cars still show a tax disc

Three years after they were abolished, one and half million keep the tax disc as a renewal reminder

1 October 2017

Most people would run a mile at the sight of a tax reminder, but three million drivers are still clinging on to their redundant windscreen tax disc, AA research has uncovered.

Even though it hasn’t been a requirement for three years, the AA-Populus Driver Poll of more than 18,000 found 11%* of drivers still show a tax disc in their car.

Drivers are evenly split as to why they have kept their disc:

  • for some it plays a practical role by reminding them when the tax is due (5%)
  • while for others it affects the cosmetic look of the car with drivers branding cars “looking weird without one” (5%)

Busy city centre dual carriageway junction

Three fifths (61%) of drivers removed their tax disc back in 2014, while a quarter (23%) said they had bought other vehicles since 2014 and their new vehicle didn’t have one.

  • 300,000 drivers said that they have never had a vehicle with a tax disc.

The study comes amid reports that drivers paid out £41 million in fines due to unpaid Vehicle Excise Duty (VED), an increase of £10 million compared with 2015.

A sense of nostalgia

Jack Cousens, head of roads policy for the AA, says: “There is a sense of nostalgia with keeping a tax disc, but for many it provides a tax and MOT test reminder too.

“The DVLA is trying to encourage people to update their records so that reminder letters are sent to the correct address, rather than an old one, but with an increase in fines for unpaid VED, there are questions around the process for buying cars privately.

It's probably too early to call for the return of the tax disc, but there's clearly still some affection for a little circle of paper on a windscreen!
Jack Cousens, head of roads policy, AA

“In the past the vehicle would be sold with the remaining tax intact, but now tax isn't transferable and the onus is on the buyer to tax the vehicle before they drive away with their new purchase.

“It's probably too early to call for the return of the tax disc, but there's clearly still some affection for a little circle of paper on a windscreen!”


* Populus received 18,385 responses from AA members to its online poll between 12 and 19 September 2017. Populus is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules.

There are 30.9 million cars on Britain’s roads

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