June 20, 2006 9:59 AM PDT
Curbing tax evasion with license plate scanners
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The vans will be equipped with automatic license plate recognition cameras that will scan plates and check them against the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency's database of untaxed vehicles.
The vans will be operated by car-parking group NCP, which has signed a three-year deal with the DVLA.
The DVLA is aiming to double the number of untaxed cars removed from U.K. roads, bringing the rate of removal to 2,000 vehicles per week. There are an estimated 1.5 million unlicensed vehicles in the United Kingdom, according to government figures.
Vehicles identified as untaxed by the vans will be clamped and impounded, the DLVA said. For clamped vehicles, a valid tax disc must be produced along with a release fee of 80 pounds ($147). Those cars not claimed within seven days can be crushed.
The DVLA said the "zero tolerance" approach will help cut the number of illegal and unsafe cars on U.K. roads.
"We are sending out a clear message today to the small, hard core of evaders who have no intention of paying tax(es). We will take your car; no more warnings," Transport Minister Stephen Ladyman said in a statement. "These antisocial drivers often have no insurance, drive unsafe vehicles and are involved in wider criminal activity."
Andy McCue of Silicon.com reported from London.
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