Poor roads were the reason behind the Road Act 1920

The Road Act 1920

Have you ever driven down one of those forgotten country roads, lined with cracks, bumps and potholes? Can you imagine the time when all our roads were just mud and loose shale?

In 1919 it was evident that reform was needed, because UK roads were not fit for purpose.  The Road Board, a group of local councillors appointed for each constituency, was abolished and its functions transferred to a Ministry of Transport. The tax on petrol was eliminated, but higher rates of excise duty were introduced. The UK was on the verge of creating a brand new transport system.

The Road Acts 1920 required Councils to register all vehicles at the time of licencing and to allocate a separate number to each vehicle. The number was to be displayed in the prescribed manner of one letter and one number “A-1” or two letters and four numbers “AB-1234” until they were exhausted.

Vehicle users were required to notify the local council when they had purchased a vehicle. There was also licensing provisions for manufacturers and traders and a general licence became the forerunner of the present number plate system.

By the late 1920’s it became apparent that there were legal difficulties with the term “owner” and it was decided that the name and address of the person “keeping” the vehicle should appear on the logbook.

The driving licence was born.