DVLA Fighting vehicle crime

The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency, better known as the DVLA, are an Executive Agency of the Department for Transport (DfT). The Agency is accountable to the Secretary of State and Ministers and, through them, to Parliament and the public, for efficient and effective management of the Agency and its responsibilities. Their primary aims are to facilitate road safety and general law enforcement by maintaining registers of drivers and vehicles, and to collect vehicle excise duty (car tax).

Vehicle identity check

The Vehicle Identity Check (VIC) was introduced to help reduce vehicle crime. It is intended to deter criminals from disguising stolen cars with the identity of written off or scrapped vehicles.

When an insurance company writes off a car, the registration document (V5 logbook) is surrendered to them and destroyed. The insurance company will then notify the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) that the vehicle has been written off. This notification will set a 'VIC marker' on the vehicle record on the DVLA database. If the vehicle is then repaired with the intention of returning it to the road, the DVLA will not issue a new registration document or vehicle excise duty licence until the car passes a vehicle identity check (VIC). The VIC is designed to help confirm that the vehicle being returned to the road has been repaired following any accident damage and has not been stolen. The Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA) will carry out the VIC. This will involve comparing the vehicle presented to VOSA against the information held by DVLA, such as the vehicle identification number VIN, make, model, colour and engine number. The VIC compares the record of previous accident damage with evidence of damage repair as well as checking other components to confirm the age and identity of the vehicle.

The DVLA provides information on the registration of vehicles to certain companies for consumer protection and anti-fraud purposes. Please be assured that no individual name or address details are provided. The information may be added to by companies with details from the police, finance and insurance companies.

DVLA Advice on buying a vehicle

If you are buying a vehicle privately and it is later identified as having been stolen you may have no right to its ownership - you could lose both the vehicle and the money you paid for it. If you purchase a new pre-registered vehicle the dealer must return the Registration Certificate (V5c) immediately so that the vehicle can be registered in your name.