The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) is the governmental body responsible for the licensing and registration of drivers and vehicles in the UK. It currently holds an estimated 48 million records for licensed drivers and around 40 million for licensed and registered cars, motorcycles, lorries, and vans. Originally, these duties were the responsibility of local authorities.
However, in 1965 it was decided that the service should be centralised and the DVLA was given headquarters in Swansea. Initially, there were a further 81 regional offices but by 1990, this was reduced to 53. DVLA Bradford and the remaining regional offices were all closed in 2013. Face-to-face counter services were assumed by the Post Office.
The information held by the DVLA is used for a variety of reasons. Primarily, it’s used to identify vehicles without tax. However, the data is also used by third-party organisations to help reduce vehicle crime and driver offences. Drivers entering London without paying the Congestion Charge and those committing speeding offences are matched to their vehicles using the information held by the DVLA. Stolen cars can be reunited with their owners, courtesy of the DVLA’s database and commercial vehicle checking companies can use it to give a potential buyer a detailed and accurate history of a particular commercial vehicle.
Taxes paid to the DVLA are used to improve the country’s road-transport infrastructure. This includes things such as the building of new roads and the widening of existing ones and building tunnels. The revenue is also invested in local projects, such as creating new car parks, repairing potholes and resurfacing roads. Currently, the DVLA collects an estimated £6billion each year in custom and excise duties.
What they offer – Services
The DVLA is much more than a collection agency for car tax. It is responsible for the creation and maintenance of driver records and for issuing licences to both ordinary and professional drivers. It also holds all the data concerning accidents, thefts, and even scrapped vehicles. This information is shared with other agencies, including the police and government departments that deal with road-related issues such as the reduction of carbon emissions.
In addition to keeping the details of vehicles, the DVLA is required to hold certain information about drivers. This includes medical information. Under current laws, anyone applying for a driving licence is legally obliged to volunteer the details of any medical conditions which might affect their ability to drive safely. The Drivers Medical Team may be called upon to assess individual cases and decide whether or not a driver is fit to be in control of a vehicle.
The DVLA is also tasked with the creation and assignation of personalised registration plates. In the year between 2012 and 2013, the agency sold around quarter of a million personalised plates, collecting around £70million in the process.
Challenging a DVLA Decision
If you feel that a decision has been made in error, the first thing to do is to call the DVLA telephone number (0871 244 9704) and outline your reasons for wanting the matter to be reconsidered. In the event that the issue has been reviewed but the decision remains the same, you still have the opportunity to challenge it. This must be done through your local magistrate’s court within six months of the initial ruling. However, it’s worth remembering that, should your challenge be unsuccessful, you will be liable for the DVLA’s legal costs.
There are many reasons people challenge DVLA decisions. However, the main one tends to be the revocation of a licence on the grounds of illness, or a medical condition such as epilepsy. In these scenarios, you will need to supply notes from your doctor or GP, as well as seeking legal advice.
Where are they?
There is only one official DVLA office, which is located in Swansea, Wales. The office can be contacted via email or over the phone. The customer service phone lines for driving licence applications are open between 8am and 7pm between Monday and Friday and on Saturdays, between 8am and 2pm. The phone lines for driving and medical issues are open between 8am and 5.30pm during weekdays and between 8am and 1pm on Saturdays. The DVLA can also be contacted by post.
When dealing with any government services online, you will be volunteering personal and important information. A strong password can help to keep it safe and secure. Use a combination of random letters and numbers but be sure that it’s something that you can remember.