In the initial days of the pandemic, people started working on cutting costs and reducing their expenses, with one of the most common approaches being registering their vehicle for a SORN. The first two months of the pandemic, from 23rd March to 19th April 2020, there were 544,887
SORN applications submitted to the DVLA. Comparing the number to the previous year, which had only 252,820 over the same dates, there was a significant 115.5% increase.
Owning a vehicle meant that people were paying multiple small amounts in various taxes regularly, which made the process a recurring cost. Between the vehicle excise duty, MOT checks, insurance and other maintenance expenses, the costs would be high. When the Coronavirus pandemic hit the world at the beginning of the year, the Government implemented a nationwide lockdown encouraging people to stay indoors to prevent the spread of the virus.
Companies and businesses had to shut shop for the most part, and industries that could adapt started getting employees to remote work. People learned about the unstable job market during the COVID pandemic, with many losing their jobs and companies shutting down and they wanted to save until a more certain future. They began reducing their expenses, and since most were working remotely, ideally from home, they didn’t need their vehicles and registered them through the SORN.
People registering their vehicles under SORN, Statutory Off Road Notification did not have to pay any VED, Vehicle Excise Duties. At the same time, they could avoid paying their insurance and other payments, but they had to make sure that they were not using the car. People with the registration could no longer keep their vehicles on public roads, use them to travel, or park them there. However, since the cars were kept in storage, not often at the homes of the people, they did consider getting an insurance plan against fire or theft, to protect the vehicle against any damage.
One of the most convenient ways to place a vehicle under the Statutory Off Road Notification was through the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency, DVLA website. People could fill out the forms on the website, and the DVLA would send them a cheque of the road tax amount paid for
the months that they didn’t use the car. However, they only made the payments for an entire month and not for a few days.
Additionally, people can get through the process by getting in touch with the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency, DVLA through their 24-hour phone line. Applicants can get through the process by connecting with the right authorities over the phone. They could even receive an understanding of the correct forms to be submitted and any other information that they would need. They can even post the application forms to the DVLA office since the address is up on the website, or they can write it on call.
People who have purchased the vehicle but not registered as the owners should send their SORN by post by filling out the V890 form. They have to make sure they complete the appropriate part of the V5C, along with the V890. Without the V5C, they have to fill in form V62 and pay a fee and send it with the V890.
As the pandemic progressed, they made multiple changes to the process. Companies and businesses started opening up following the Government rules, and people started going back to work. They were initially using public transportation since the workdays were not regular, but as the situation began normalising, people began cancelling their NORN applications and using their cars again. Additionally, to reduce the spread of the virus, they were told to stay away from others, which was another reason to use their vehicles. Making changes to the SORN application was not difficult, and people had to make the payment of the VED to start using their car. When they began using the vehicle, they also needed a running insurance plan and had to make sure they applied for one, if it had expired in storage. Additionally, they had to make sure they went through the MOT test as well.
People using vehicles on public roads in the UK had to make sure they were safe, roadworthy and giving out minimal pollution to clear the MOT test. In the initial days of the Coronavirus spread, people did not want to leave their houses since there was a chance that they might get sick from the virus. Furthermore, there were long queues when it came to applying for the MOT check, so the authorities created a two-month extension for people who had to complete the test after 30th May. People could choose to register their vehicle in the interim, but if they waited it out, they would not receive a fine. They then dropped the extension toward the end of August, and people had to start getting through the process again. People had to make sure that they
checkmot before using the vehicle. People can go through the vehicle history on the website and understand the work done on the car in the past, to know what to handle moving forward, before applying for the MOT test. If a vehicle fails the MOT, it cannot be on public roads and has to clear it first.
Unlike the SORN, which was primarily through the website, the MOT registration date and time, with select centres was done through their online platform. Additionally, some registered garages send a person to the house to assist with the process, collect the vehicle, take it to the garage, get it tested and bring it back. However, they cannot review the car remotely.
While the MOT is an annual test, the SORN declaration is a one-time thing that lasts, unless there are exceptions. It remains in place indefinitely, till the vehicle is sold, scrapped, or permanently exported outside the UK. However, people can cancel their SORN registrations when they want to use the car again by paying the taxes.