Motor salvage company Universal Salvage has launched a campaign to prevent the 1.8 million vehicles that are written off each year as scrap from being repaired and passed off as roadworthy.

The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) said it introduced an administrative arrangement in 1993, which enabled salvage dealers to notify it of scrap vehicles that should not return to the road.

But figures from the DVLA indicate the arrangement is being ignored by some salvage dealers (not Universal Salvage), as the DVLA receives only 238,000 notifications each year out of 1.8 million vehicles it estimates are scrapped each year.

The DVLA said in a statement that many cars were being repaired and returned to the road. “More than 60% of vehicles referred to the police or the DVLA for investigation as potential ringers turned out to be the original vehicles that have been repaired.”

It added: “In these circumstances, once satisfied that no criminal activity is involved, the agency is prepared to relicense and/or issue a registration document. Of course, any testing requirements, such as an MOT, have to be met prior to relicensing.”

The agency said all end-of-life vehicles would require a certificate of destruction from 2002, and the DVLA would have to be notified. It is investigating how to prevent these vehicles returning to the road.

Universal Salvage business development director Barrie Hobbs said that apart from the obvious danger of allowing wrecked cars back on the road, drivers lost out because insurers would not pay out on claims involving such vehicles.

He said: “It baffles me as to why such a simple and inexpensive move has not been put into effect. There's no reason why these vehicles should be issued with logbooks. They should be taken out of the system completely.”