Friday, 6 January 2012

Road – No more SORN?

One of the pledges made by the present Government when seeking our support at the last General Election was to cut red tape. Well, it appears that the cutting is about to start.

According to Transport Secretary Justine Greening the snip is under way with a simplified procedure for the Statutory Off Road Notification, or SORN. Once drivers have notified the DVLA that their vehicle is off the road they will no longer have to go through the weary process of annual SORN renewal. That should help those who have ‘collections’ of cars and motor bikes cluttering up the garden and driveway, including a certain rally driver in the north east whose collection of Triumph Dolomites currently numbers 19 - at the last count!

Plans are also afoot to dispense with the regulation which requires motorists to hold a paper counterpart to their driving licence, and this will be done away with by 2015.

As for the issue of hard-copies of V5C vehicle registration certificates, these will only be issued to fleet operators when needed, and that will be rolled out to private motorists in due course.

Justine Greening said: “Motorists shouldn’t have to keep numerous bits of paper just to prove they can drive and have bought insurance – we live in a digital age and we need to embrace that. Reducing the number of rules and regulations in our life is absolutely vital to removing barriers to economic growth and increasing individual freedoms.”

Other proposed changes include removing the need for an insurance certificate. The Department for Transport will work with the insurance industry on removing the need for motorists to have to hold an insurance certificate. But before you think this is a loopy idea which will result in more un-insured cars on our roads, the DfT will ensure that a system will be put in place to check existing databases for insurance under new Continuous Insurance Enforcement rules. The DVLA’s records are compared regularly with the Motor Insurance Database (MID) to identify registered keepers of vehicles that appear to have no insurance.

Parking and permissions is another area rife for clarification, and Local Authorities will now have to ensure business interests are properly considered as part of any future proposed Workplace Parking Levy scheme. They must show they have properly and effectively consulted local businesses, have addressed any proper concerns raised and secured support from the local business community.

As part of this ongoing process, attention will be paid to other issues affecting motorists such as improved road signage (to help those already helplessly lost by following their SatNavs!) and speed limits which are currently under review.

You’ll also be pleased to note that bicycles must have bells and there will be a maximum permitted length of dog lead used by dog walkers on certain roads. This is to try and control those infernal ‘fishing reel’ type jobs which stretch from one side of the road to the other and are specifically designed to trip up pedestrians, cyclists and baby buggies.

It’s not much, but it’s a start, although the SORN headache will provide welcome relief for some of us.

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