Road pricing technology could mean “end of privacy” for UK car drivers

The Alliance of British Drivers has criticized road pricing plans based on “Dashboard Spy” technology as the driver’s “end of privacy.”

Road pricing by the MP Commission in February as a solution to the £ 35 billion ($ 43 billion) tax gap that arises as British car drivers gradually switch to electric cars. Charge) was proposed.

However, Ian Taylor, chairman of the British Driver Alliance, told The Epoch Times that he believed it was the “end of privacy” for drivers, adding: The ability to control where and where even states and car makers can and cannot go. “

“People might say,’You’re imagining things,’ but there’s something like mission creep. If you have the technology, you’ll want to use it. There’s always an excuse.” He said.

The government of Prime Minister Boris Johnson in November 2020 Banning the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles By 2030, and as motor traders are already aware of the surge in sales of electric vehicles.

The Association of Motor Manufacturers and Traders The recently reported 39,315 Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs) were sold in March 2022, surpassing 2019 overall.

However, switching to electric vehicles to meet the government’s carbon emission targets could open a big hole in the Treasury’s finances.

Mike Williams, Director of Business and International Taxes at the Treasury, recently told the House of Commons. Japan Transport Safety Board The vehicle excise tax (automobile tax) and fuel tax together raise £ 35 billion annually. This is equivalent to 1.5 percent of GDP.

Japan Transport Safety Board in February Publish the report He called on the Ministry of Transport and the Ministry of Finance to establish an independent body to “consider solutions and recommend new road charging mechanisms by the end of 2022.”

“Use the price as a lever”

Hugh Merriman of the Conservative Party, chairman of the committee, said: Innovative technologies may offer a national road pricing scheme that sets travel prices based on the amount of roads used and the type of vehicle. It’s the same as the current car tax, but by using it at a higher price, it offers better prices during less crowded hours and technology can directly compare these with alternatives to public transport. “

Epoch Times Photo
Customers are preparing to charge their Tesla Electric Vehicle (EV) after parking in a bay for electric vehicles at a supermarket in northern London on November 18, 2020. (DanielLeal-Olivas / AFP via Getty Images)

In 2007, Tony Blair’s Labor government highlighted the idea of ​​road pricing, which was soon labeled as a “stealth tax” and was quietly killed after 1.8 million people signed an online petition.

The British Driver Alliance is behind the petition, Taylor said: But it just comes back and keeps coming back. It’s like the people behind it drip, drip, drip, they think they’ll be on their way. “

“Electric cars pay very little tax, which means that the government is facing a big black hole with a dirty budget and is trying to fill it, so road pricing will skyrocket.”

Taylor explained why the alliance opposed it: We have already paid a lot of fuel tax, VAT and automobile tax and don’t want to pay any more, but our larger beef, including satellite tracking, has a very expensive bureaucracy. Including, there is room for error. “

Is public opinion changing?

The Social Market Foundation A survey of 3,000 people across the UK in August 2021 found that 38% of respondents supported road pricing in contrast to existing tax systems, and only 26% opposed it.

So how does it work?

More environmentally friendly transportation solutionNonprofits say there are three main options.

One is a toll road system that is monitored by an automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) camera rather than an old-fashioned tollhouse.

Epoch Times Photo
Dateless photos of Japanese Nissan cars’ digital dashboards, HUDs, and infotainment systems. (Nissan)

However, although they can be introduced on highways and some double roadways, they do nothing to help the city’s congestion and, in fact, use shortcuts through residential areas to “loopholes”. May boost.

The second option is Victoria, Australia Nowadays, electric vehicle owners need to notify authorities of rangefinder readings and are charged accordingly.

But the third and perhaps most likely option is Josh BucklandReported by Bright Blue, a conservative think tank, former adviser when Andrea Leadsom was Secretary of Energy.

“Dashboard Spy”

A pay-as-you-go scheme with the need for “dashboard spy” technology that reports not only how many miles the vehicle has traveled, but also on which road and when.

Some expensive, modern vehicles are equipped with an advanced in-vehicle computer system called telematics that tracks the vehicle’s position, speed, and even when windows, hoods, and trunks open.

At Terence’s February 2020 murder trial, prosecutors used telematics evidence from Land Rover Discovery to prove that he parked at the murder scene and probably opened the trunk to retrieve the crossbow.

More vehicles will be equipped with telematics in the coming years, but cheaper vehicles may be equipped with dongles to comply with road pricing surveillance.

Road pricing can be difficult to swallow, but in a report last August, Tony Blair Institute for Global Change Electric vehicle drivers pointed out that they are 98% less expensive to drive than petrol and diesel owners, but benefit from the same road infrastructure.

The Campaign for better transportation We are currently conducting a survey with focus groups to find out what the British people think of road pricing ideas.

Road pricing will not only address the financial disparities faced by the government, but will also help combat congestion and emissions, said Sylvia Barrett, director of policy research.

“Road pricing promotes behavioral change”

Barrett told The Epoch Times on May 13: “Switching to electric vehicles alone is not enough to meet our carbon emissions goals. We need to reduce our overall mileage. Road pricing creates behavioral changes and public transport to people. May help you consider using. “

The Traffic Improvement Planning Council points out that electric vehicles do not cause the same level of pollution as gasoline and diesel vehicles, but produce particulate matter from tires and brakes, which is bad for our health. ..

According to Barrett, pay-as-you-go schemes charge more for urban driving and less for rural and nighttime driving, limiting public transport options. You can take into account shift workers and other drivers who are often present.

A government spokesperson told The Epoch Times in an email: The Commission’s recommendations will be fully addressed in due course. “

Chris Summers


Chris Summers is a UK-based journalist with a particular interest in crime, police and law, covering stories from a wide range of countries.