Motoring Correspondent
2 minute read
1 Oct 2020
10:12 am

Driver’s licence: AA calls for card system’s renewal

Motoring Correspondent

“It’s absurd that motorists cannot renew their discs or cards, and are then stopped and fined for not having done so".

(file photo)

The Automobile Association (AA) says a moratorium on fining motorists without renewed driving licences must be implemented as a matter of urgency, and that immediate steps be taken to fix the current renewal processes.

“The current system was broken even before the lockdown began. Now, with thousands of anxious motorists struggling to renew their driving licence cards for a variety of reasons, the failures of the system are being exposed even more. And, what is most concerning, is that there appears to be no acknowledgement of this by the authorities, nor of any attempts to assist the public. We must be honest and admit that the current processes are, quite simply, shambolic,” says the AA.

Of particular concern the association notes is that the already under resourced and inadequately staffed  traffic law enforcement authorities are setting up roadblocks to ensnare motorists with expired driving licence cards and vehicle licence discs, even though they are aware that there are few avenues for motorists to actually renew these documents. The AA says traffic policing must be about road safety and not revenue.

“It’s absurd that motorists cannot renew their discs or cards, and are then stopped and fined for not having done so. It’s not news to anyone that the online booking system is not functional, that Driving Licence Testing Centres (DLTCs) are open erratically and under-staffed, and that online networks at DLTCs are also often down, all of which result in motorists being unable to renew their cards. The only people who don’t seem to acknowledge these issues are the authorities and it’s the motorists who ultimately suffer,” the association continued.

“Law abiding citizens with no alternatives must continue using their vehicles to work and are then punished because of a problem they didn’t cause, by the very authorities who did. Not only must third party agents such as the AA be allowed to renew driving licence cards, but the current system needs a dramatic overhaul, and quickly. There can be no doubt that the current way of doing business must change, and change now”.

The AA says calls by the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (OUTA) to extend the validity of driving licences from five to ten years makes sense provided motorists have their eyes tested by registered professionals at least every five years to ensure their vision is good enough to remain safe on the road. It however adds that increasing the validity of licences from five to ten years must run parallel to ensuring the current system is improved and updated.

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