After years of telling people that failing to display a valid tax disc will make them liable for a fine, it seems that if you order your tax disc online and provided you do so before the old one expires you can, in fact, drive your car legally for up to 5 days before your new disc must be displayed.
“A change in legislation from 1 September 2008 will provide for a five-day period of grace from the requirement to display a tax disc only where that disc is purchased online, by phone or by post. This will apply to the first 5 working days of the month in which the disc commences and will only apply where the vehicle is continuously licensed.” – DVLA – Improved Customer Service
In order to not fall foul of lurking petty officialdom it will probably be advisable to display the old disc until the new one arrives. It’s a small piece of good news if you follow the procedures and a policeman or woman approaches, attempts to issue you with a ticket and you are able to inform them, quite firmly but politely, of the rules. Probably best to steer clear of the “why aren’t you out catching proper criminals” line, by all accounts the police don’t like that.
It may also be advisable to print confirmation of the online transaction to produce as evidence, should you be met by the particularly overzealous variety of law enforcement that may seek to administer a robust blast of pepper spray rather than listen to reasoned argument!