Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Cars, the DVLA, MID and more about Cars

As an example of a regulatory authority for Jan10 unit 1, the DVLA and it's associated organisations is worth a look if you haven't already got all your content sorted.

Directgov - how to tax your vehicle is where I started

From there I found out how to tax my vehicle online from where I found out:
Insurance, MOT and entitlement to disability exemption are checked electronically during the application. A tax disc and receipt for payment is posted to you within five working days.

Valid insurance on the date you want the tax disc to come into force (or the date you apply, if this is later) is checked on the Motor Insurance Database (MID) run by the Motor Insurers Bureau. If your vehicle tax and insurance are due at the same time or if you’ve recently changed your insurance company, there may be problems checking insurance while waiting for the MID to update.

Before you tax, you can make an online check to see if the MID has updated. The result will apply only to the day you make your check.

...which goes someway to telling me how they use ICT.

I then looked at the DVLA site where I actually do the registering for car tax. The Apply for a tax disc page tells me:
The Motor Insurance Database (MID) holds insurance details of vehicles. You can check if your vehicle is on the database today by visiting their website at www.askmid.com. Please note, to complete a relicensing transaction valid insurance needs to be on the database on the day the new tax disc comes into force.
...which shows me that there are clearly a number of databases which are linked up and hold an awful lot of information about cars and their drivers. You'll learn more about databases in Unit 3, but for now just accept that you can hold a lot of data in databases and that different databases in different agencies can "talk" to each other to do this sort of thing. But that that requires skill in using computers.

I also checked the DVLA FAQ. Question 4 tells me:
How do you check Insurance, MoT Certificates and GVT Certificates?

When you apply for a tax disc online or by using our telephone service, the vehicle's insurance will be electronically checked with the Motor Insurance Database (MID), run by the Motor Insurers' Bureau (MIB)

MoT Certificates and GVT Certificates will also be checked electronically with the MoT Database. Only customers with an electronic MoT Certificate or GVT Certificate are eligible to use this service.
From all this stuff I got to various other places:
  • askMID, where I can check if my vehicle is insured (if I could remember the number plate anyway...)
  • the VOSN MOTinfo page, where I can check if I have a valid MOT
  • the Directgov page where I can report a vehicle which I believe isn't registered in an anonymous way. This is an interesting idea - I imagine it means they get more reports made and that they can quickly check the data against their databases?
  • and the VOSA main page, which links to a little you tube video about how they're helping to save lives on the road - which is probably how you can link all of this to the Jan10 paper. You might find some of the linked videos useful as well.
Links to safety: keeps uninsured drivers off the road who are more likely to cause accidents and who push up insurance costs for all other drivers (you could probably find figures on this); allows police to check details of vehicles quickly and pull drivers without insurance/tax etc...; if vehicles are not taxed the DVLA knows where they were last held and can send people to check on them - untaxed vehicles more likely to be used dangerously perhaps?; details can be checked if you're going to buy a car - including mileage - which might reduce the possibility of criminals "clocking" a vehicle or selling one which is dangerous having been in an accident and written off etc..

Pros: quick, links up databases, stops people without insurance getting vehicles taxed, allows increased reporting of taxed vehicles, saves money as it doesn't need people to do this any more, saves time as I don't have to queue in the post office

Cons: if the database is wrong then I can't tax my car, the system's only as good as the data in it, data has to be checked, which takes time and costs money, cost to set up, problems with data getting lost - all my personal details could be on their databases, privacy issues, data protection issues

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