You know the scenario. You’ve just bought a used car, and you’ve got the itch to drive it. But it’s not taxed.

Cue days of tense waiting around and glum looks at the static and as-yet-unexplored car in your drive, as the insurance company and Royal Mail move your precious insurance certificate aimlessly around the country.

I recently experienced exactly this bureaucratic nonsense after buying a Mercedes 190E recently, and in doing so discovered that it’s all totally unnecessary.

You can’t buy a tax disc in the Post Office until you have your official insurance certificate. But if you buy online – a very efficient and pain-free activity – the DVLA simply checks an electronic database that confirms whether you have (or haven’t) got insurance and an MOT.

But then you can’t buy online until you have the full V5 registration document or else your tax will be sent to the previous owner. 

Now, I’m not questioning the fact that we should validate all these details, but surely in the electronic age the post office should be able to check the same online database for valid insurance and MOT, see your green slip in all its papery glory and then hand over your shiny tax disc?