Dear Her Majesty's Courts Service,
'I' below, refers to 'any man or woman' who wishes to travel freely on the highways and roads of this land using any motor vehicle privately, in a non-commercial nature whilst harming no-one and not causing breach of the peace.
1) Is it LAWFULLY REQUIRED that I must have a drivers licence?
2) Is it LAWFULLY REQUIRED that I must take and pass a driving test?
3) Is it LAWFULLY REQUIRED that I must register my own, paid-for vehicle with the DVLA and therefore transfer its ownership to the government and I only become the registered KEEPER?
4) Is it a LAWFUL REQUIREMENT that I must submit my vehicle for an MOT test/certificate that is only valid for ONE DAY out of 365?
5) Is it a LAWFUL REQUIREMENT that I must annually pay tax
(vehicle licensing fee)?
6) Is it a LAWFUL REQUIREMENT that I must submit a SORN Notice to you (or anyone else) under ANY circumstance WHATSOEVER?
7) Is it a LAWFUL REQUIREMENT that I must have 3rd party
8) Am I not already adequately and LAWFULLY insured via my own NI?
9) Is it a LAWFUL REQUIREMENT that my vehicle must have seat-belts fitted?
10) Is it a LAWFUL requirement that I must wear seat-belts?
11) Is it a LAWFUL requirement that my vehicle must be fitted with a catalytic converter?
12) Does the government or the DVLA have plans to make it a
'Legal' requirement to have all cars fitted with SatNav in the foreseeable future?
13) If the answers to any/all of the above twelve (12) questions is 'no', why does the DVLA exist?
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Thank you for your recent Freedom of Information (FOI) request,
addressed to Her Majesty’s Court Section regarding the legal
requirements within the vehicle licensing and registration process. Your
letter has been passed to the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA)
for response. The questions you have raised in your correspondence have
been dealt as ‘business as usual’.
For ease of reference I have responded to your enquiries in the same
order you placed them in your e-mail.
Questions 1 & 2 - Is it lawfully required that I must have a drivers
licence and that I must take and pass a driving test?
I can confirm that The Road Traffic Act 1988 requires all drivers to
hold a driving licence, which is valid and appropriate for the class or
category of vehicle in order to drive legally on UK roads. Those holding
valid driving licences issued outside Great Britain may be permitted to
drive here depending on the circumstances. If you are stopped by the
Police and found to be in breach of the law regarding your driving
licence and/or vehicle then they will have no option but to report you
for the offence. Where DVLA receive any notification of such a breach
then we will update the driver record with the endorsement information.
Question 3 - Is it lawfully required that I must register my own,
paid-for vehicle with the DVLA and therefore transfer its ownership to
the government and I only become the register keeper?
All vehicle licensing and registration in Great Britain is carried out
by the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) on behalf of the
Secretary of State for Transport and is governed in accordance with the
Vehicle Excise and Registration Act (VERA) 1994 (as amended) and the
Road Vehicles (Registration and Licensing) Regulations 2002. VERA
requires vehicle excise duty to be charged in respect of every
mechanically propelled vehicle which is used or kept on a public road in
the United Kingdom. Schedule 2 of VERA specifies vehicles that are
exempt from the payment of VED .
Once licensed, a vehicle must also be registered and this involves
allocating each vehicle a unique registration mark. DVLA then sets up a
record on its vehicle register. The register maintained by DVLA is based
on the vehicle details and records the registered keeper. The registered
keeper is the person responsible for the vehicle’s use and licensing
on the public roads, but not who is the owner of the vehicle. DVLA is
not concerned with matters of ownership and the government does not
become the “owner” of a vehicle once it has been registered with
DVLA. The register held at DVLA is essentially maintained to assist in
revenue collection, road safety and law enforcement generally. It is
clearly essential for all these purposes that the register shows the
people in possession of vehicles and responsible for its day to day use
on the road. For this reason the law requires keepers to notify DVLA as
they acquire and dispose of vehicles and Vehicle Registration
Certificates (V5C) are issued to them to help this process.
Question 4 - Is it a lawful requirement that I must submit my vehicle
for an MoT test/certificate that is only valid for one day out of 365?
The requirement to have an MOT is contained within Regulation 47 of the
Road Traffic Act 1988 (as amended).
Regulation 47 (1) states;
A person who uses on a road at any time, or causes or permits to be so
used, a motor vehicle to which this section applies, and as respects
which no test certificate has been issued within the appropriate period
before that time, is guilty of an offence. In this section and section
48 of this Act, the “appropriate period” means a period of twelve
months or such shorter period as may be prescribed. What this basically
means is that when using a vehicle on the road a vehicle must have a
valid MOT Pass certificate (VT20). The regulation goes on to describe
those vehicles to which this applies and exceptions such as certain new
vehicles which do not need to have a valid VT20 until they are three
years old. Regulation 6 of the Motor Vehicle (Tests) Regulations 1981
(as amended) lists those vehicles which are exempt from an MOT but these
are very specific to certain vehicles, It should be noted that whereas
the MOT certificate is not to be considered proof of the vehicles
condition at all times it is valid proof, up until the certificate's
expiry date, that the vehicle has been examined.
Questions 5 & 6 - Is it a lawful requirement that I must annually pay
tax and is it a lawful requirement that I must submit a SORN notice to
you (or anyone else) under any circumstances whatsoever?
VERA requires vehicle excise duty to be charged in respect of every
mechanically propelled vehicle which is used or kept on a public road in
the United Kingdom.
The Road Vehicles (Registration and Licensing) Regulations 2002 state
that SORN declarations are required if a vehicle is registered and kept
off road in Great Britain and the licence expires, is surrendered or if
the vehicle is disposed of. The legislation specifies that these
declarations must be made immediately and must be renewed annually if
the vehicle remains off road.
Question 7 & 8 - Is it lawful requirement that I must have 3rd party
insurance? And am I not already adequately and lawfully insured via my
Section 143 of the Road Traffic Act 1988 requires that anyone who uses
a vehicle on a road in Great Britain be insured against third party
risks. This is to ensure that other members of the public are protected
if the driver is found to be responsible if the vehicle is involved in
Question 9 & 10 - Is it a lawful requirement to have a seat belt fitted
and is it a lawful requirement that I must wear seat belt?
Seat belt fitting and wearing legislation is not a matter in which DVLA
has any operational function. Requirements for vehicles to be fitted
with seat belts are contained in the "Road Vehicles (Construction and
Use) Regulations 1986" (as amended) (Statutory Instrument 1986 No.
1078), lawfully made by the Secretary of State under powers conferred by
the Road Traffic Act 1972. Specific requirements regarding the vehicles
affected, the seating position and type of seat belt to be fitted are
set down in regulation 47 to those Regulations. Requirements for
drivers and passengers in motor vehicles to wear seat belts - where
required to be fitted in the vehicle - are in various regulations
lawfully made by the Secretary of State under Sections 14 and 15 of the
Road Traffic Act 1988. There are various, very limited, exceptions in
those Regulations. In addition, Section 14(2)(d) provides for a
certificate to be provided by a doctor, which allows a holder not to
wear a seatbelt on medical grounds.
Question 11 - Is it a lawful requirement that my vehicle must be fitted
with a catalytic converter?
This is not a DVLA issue, and the response would be based on individual
specifications of the vehicle. For a full response you should address
your question (including specific vehicle details) to the technical
department within the Vehicle Operator and Services Agency (VOSA),
Question 12 -Does the government or the DVLA have plans to make it a
legal requirement to have all cars fitted with SatNav in the foreseeable
This is not a DVLA matter, however I can confirm that my colleagues in
London have stipulated that the rules governing passenger car
construction are agreed at European level between Member States. The UK
cannot unilaterally introduce requirements for original equipment
in-vehicle devices such as satellite navigation to be fitted to vehicles
before they enter service on our roads.
Question 13 - (If the answers to any/all the above twelve (12)
questions is ‘no’ why does DVLA exist - this question is not
Should you require further information on how to ensure that you may
drive legally in/on UK roads and on obtaining the necessary documents to
do so, this information can be found at www.direct.gov.uk/motoring.
Policy and External Communications Directorate
Casework and Specialist Advice