What Are Road Tax Cameras?

If you are wondering about what road tax cameras are and how are they used, you will find the answer to your question in the following blog post. Here, we will discuss the purpose and usage of road tax cameras, as well as explore the potential consequences of being in violation of road tax regulations if your vehicle is identified through a camera.

What Are Road Tax Cameras?

Road tax cameras are located at strategic locations and are used by the DVLA to identify untaxed vehicles by capturing images of their license plates and matching them with their pre-existing database. The purpose of road tax cameras is to ensure that only taxed vehicles are found on public roads and appropriate action is taken against untaxed ones.

Road tax cameras operate by using Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) technology to capture and verify vehicle registration numbers. They are equipped with specialised software that can read and interpret vehicle registration numbers accurately.

The ANPR system is typically integrated with backend systems, including the DVLA database and law enforcement networks, enabling seamless information exchange and enforcement procedures.

It is important to note that road tax cameras in the UK are not just focused on road tax enforcement; they also serve various other purposes, such as detecting stolen vehicles, identifying vehicles involved in criminal activities, and monitoring traffic flow.

How Do Road Tax Cameras Work?

As vehicles pass through the camera’s field of view, the ANPR system captures an image of the license plate. The software then analyses the image to extract the registration number.

The extracted registration number is compared in real-time against a database of registered vehicles maintained by the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA). This database contains information about whether a vehicle has valid road tax or not.

When a vehicle without road tax is detected, the ANPR system automatically generates an alert, which is forwarded to the relevant enforcement authorities. Based on the alert, enforcement officers can take appropriate action, such as issuing penalty charges, fines, or initiating further investigations to verify the vehicle’s road tax status.

What Happens When Road Tax Cameras Identify Untaxed Vehicles?

Once an untaxed vehicle is identified by road tax cameras, an officer can approach the registered keeper of the vehicle on a real-time basis and issue a fine for driving the vehicle on a public road. This fine is usually £80 and has to be paid within 28 days of issuance. 

If the registered keeper pays the road tax fine before the due date, the amount can be halved to £40. However, if the due date passes and the fine is not paid, there can be serious consequences such as the following:

  • If a vehicle owner fails to renew their road tax on time, they may be subject to late licensing penalties. These penalties often involve additional fees or fines on top of the road tax amount owed. The amount for these penalties can be as high as £1,000.
  • Persistent offenders or those with significant road tax arrears may have their vehicles clamped or removed by enforcement authorities. The release of a clamped vehicle or retrieval of a removed vehicle typically requires payment of outstanding road tax, penalty charges, and associated fees.
  • In cases of severe non-compliance or repeated offences, legal proceedings can be initiated against the vehicle owner. This can result in court appearances, heavier fines, and potential prosecution, leading to criminal records or driving disqualifications.


Road tax cameras are used by the DVLA to identify untaxed vehicles on public roads so that the registered keeper can be fined and made to pay the road tax due on their vehicle. These cameras are located at unidentified locations and use the APNR technology to scan vehicle license plates and run them through the DVLA’s database for appropriate action(s).


ANPR cameras: what are they and what do they do? | Adrian Flux

How DVSA uses automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) – GOV.UK

ANPR the future of car tax