The ubiquitous road tax disc will be done away with from next February, in what motorists and industry say is a long overdue move.
The Land Transport Authority (LTA) said yesterday that from Feb 15, it will stop issuing the octagonal document which drivers have to display on their windscreens, a requirement that has been in place for at least six decades. The move is expected to reduce cost by around $400,000 a year.
"Motorists will only receive a road tax payment notice, and no paper road tax disc will be issued," it said. The LTA said the move was part of its efforts to "streamline its processes" as well as to be greener.
The authority has stopped issuing several other physical documents in recent years, including the vehicle log book, scrap certificate, temporary certificates of entitlement, and the paper day-licence for off- peak cars.
This is possible with the online vehicle registration and licensing system introduced more than 10 years ago that tracks all vehicles virtually from registration to deregistration.
With this system, an LTA enforcement officer knows whether road tax on a vehicle has been paid without having to leave his desk. In fact, the LTA said car buyers will also be able to verify the validity of a vehicle's road tax electronically.
Private-hire driver Jerry Yeo, 43, said: "I'm very glad to hear this. Whenever there's a (road tax) renewal, I have to go to our office in Jurong to pick up the disc."
Automobile Association of Singapore chief executive Lee Wai Mun said: "What is the purpose of the disc in today's context? With this move, we will be saving some paper, some time and some cost."
Mr Raymond Tang, first vice-president of the Singapore Vehicle Traders Association, lauded the move as it will cut down on processes involved in putting a new car on the road.
But he said that with the move, forgers will have one less document to deal with if they want to put a deregistered car on the road. He also said motorists driving to Malaysia may run into problems if they are stopped by the police there. "They might demand to see the road tax disc."
Malaysia still requires its vehicle owners to display their road tax disc.
The LTA said those driving or riding into Malaysia should carry printed proof of the validity of their road tax with them.
Meanwhile, more than 100,000 motorists are late in renewing their vehicle road tax each year. More than 6,000 summonses are issued each year to people caught driving without a valid road tax; and some 1,000 vehicles are seized as a result. Those caught face a maximum fine of $2,000 each.