Some vehicles with valid tax discs are being stopped and even impounded by police officers who are using out-of-date information.
Ken Oliver, who runs a 110-strong vehicle fleet at York House Construction, told members of the North East and Tyne Tees regional meeting of fleet operators’ association ACFO: ‘I taxed a private car online and then, four days later, the car was stopped with a new tax disc in the window.
‘The officer said that the vehicle was coming up on his computer as having a Statutory Off Road Notice. Even though he was shown the new tax disc, he said it could be a forgery and that the vehicle had to be impounded.
‘It is now going to cost £140 to get the car back and we have been told we will have to sue if we want to get our money back.
‘We weren’t even given a ‘producer’ telling us to provide proof.
‘Someone in the company also taxed their car online and they were stopped because it wasn’t coming up as taxed. I now make sure I tax all my vehicles in person at the Post Office.’
Modern police vehicles can be fitted with automatic numberplate recognition systems which read the registrations of passing vehicles and instantly check them against a national database to pick out unlicensed or untaxed vehicles.
A spokesman for the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency, said: ‘We can’t comment on individual cases, but the majority of vehicle records are updated within 24 hours of a change being made, both at the DVLA and on the police national computer.
‘There have been times when there has been a delay, but in any case, all tax discs provided by the DVLA are legitimate and legal and it is possible to spot if it is genuine.’
ACFO members were told that the only way to be certain was to re-tax vehicles a month in advance to deal with any potential problems that may arise, including tax discs getting lost in the post.