Postal strike

Motoring authorities must be sympathetic says AA

23 October 2009

The AA has called on national and local authorities to go easy on drivers whose documents may be caught up in the postal strike. The AA says that paper records only usually back up information that should already be on national databases such as insurance and road tax. Technical breaches, for example, non display of a tax disc are just that and the authorities can easily see from electronic records whether the vehicle is taxed or not.

The AA also urges those carrying out motoring enforcement through the service of notices by post, for example, those related to speed, traffic or parking which are commonly detected by camera, to build in extra time safeguards into the process. AA President, Edmund King said: "Britain's 30 million drivers and hundreds of local authorities and the police are still reliant on the post for many motoring matters and so the postal dispute will be difficult for the authorities and drivers. We hope both will allow extra time in getting their documents and processes in order."

AA advice about renewing road tax and insurance during the strike »

Electronic Insurance Certificates

The AA would also like to see the necessary amendment to legislation quickly completed so that electronic insurance certificates are recognised under the Road Traffic Act. Section 147 (1) of the RTA states;

"(a) policy of insurance shall be of no effect for the purposes of this Part of this Act unless and until there is delivered by the insurer to the person by whom the policy is effected a certificate in the prescribed form and containing such particulars of any conditions subject to which the policy is issued and of any other matters as may be prescribed."

In March 2007, the Department for Transport published the 'Consultation on Proposals to Allow the Electronic Delivery of Certificates of Motor Insurance'.

This document outlined that the current prescribed form of the motor insurance certificate is that it must be issued on paper, but that it wanted to consider changing the Act to extend this prescribed form to include electronic certificates.

In his speech of 14 November 2007 to the ABI Motor Conference, Jim Fitzpatrick MP reported back on the consultation and the robustness of the Motor Insurance Database. He said:

"Maximising the use of technology will also be vital in ensuring that we can work together effectively in the future. And on that theme, I am now in a position to give you an update on the consultation that took place earlier this year on the electronic delivery of motor insurance certificates. I'm pleased to say that the response was very positive and I can announce today that I have instructed Departmental lawyers to begin drafting the necessary legislation to allow this programme to go ahead. This again highlights the fact that we are open to looking at any ideas that can help us operate more effectively in all our interests."

The AA believes that due to the current dispute urgency is required to amend the legislation.

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27 October 2009