3 million drivers still have a tax disk in their windscreen – should we bring them back?

Three years after they were abolished, 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%)
  • Others it affects the cosmetic look of the car with drivers branding cars “looking weird without one” (5%)
  • 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.
“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.”