The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency holds the records for every single driver and vehicle in the UK, with the figure currently standing at over 47 million for drivers and 39 million for vehicles. The DVLA also enforces the Vehicle Excise Duty law and collects around 5 billion of it every year. Their main aim is to reduce vehicle crime and keep the roads safe for users. The DVLA operate out of Swansea, with their main headquarters being a six storey building. However, if you do not live in the area you can contact them by calling 0844 453 0118.
They were originally known as the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Centre, and opened for business over 40 years ago. Initially the DVLA had 39 local offices around the UK, but centralised their business to one big office in Swansea in order to improve their standard of customer service. The DVLA looks after many areas of driving and vehicles and so you should contact them if you have having any driving-related issues such as a misplaced licence or a recently diagnosed medical condition. (You should notify the DVLA of any medical conditions that might affect your driving when you apply for your licence, but should you develop one whilst in possession of your licence, or your doctor tells you to stop driving, you must tell the DVLA.
Issuing driving licences
This is one of the DVLA’s main responsibilities and every driver is issued with one. If you drive without a licence you will be driving illegally. You can apply for your provisional driving licence via the DVLA website – you will need this to begin your driving lessons. Once you have passed your test, your provisional licence will be replaced for a regular licence. If you lose, damage or have your licence stolen, you must contact the DVLA to arrange a replacement. Your driving licence will contain your name, address and an accurate, up to date photo.
Vehicle tax evaders
If you own a vehicle, then you must pay your vehicle tax. The DVLA has a database of over 39 million registered vehicles and when you buy a vehicle you must pay your registration tax, as well as renew it when your renewal is due. You can pay for and renew vehicle tax at the post office. You can also anonymously report an untaxed vehicle if you see one. It is thought that since car tax went digital in 2015, and a visible tax disc is no longer required to be displayed from your car, tax evasion has doubled. A car that is registered as a SORN does not have to pay car tax unless it is parked on a public road.
Vehicle tax refund
In order to claim a refund on your vehicle tax if you are not keeping your vehicle for the full year it has been taxed for under your name, you must prove to the DVLA that your vehicle has been sold or transferred to someone else. You could also re-register your vehicle as a SORN if you plan to take it off-road, or prove that your vehicle has been scrapped or stolen.
Dealing with crime
Breaking the law whilst driving often results in penalty points which are shown on your record. A certain number of penalty points can result in a driving ban or even permanent disqualification. Although the DVLA does not issue penalty points directly, they work closely with the police to ensure the roads are free from dangerous drivers. Points can be issued for offences such as speeding, drink driving and death by dangerous driving.
In 2015 the DVLA retained the Customer Service Excellence Standard, which has been theirs since 2008. They aim to put their customers at the heart of their services.