Tax discs will be abolished on October 1 but of those aware change is ahead, half do not know the exact date
The windscreen tax discs will be scrapped from October 1 and replaced by electronic records where police cameras will check number plates to catch owners who have not paid.
However, a survey found that 50 per cent of drivers are still ignorant about when the changes take effect.
Nearly a third of them said they will not even try to find out what the new rules are, according to the poll by price comparison website money.co.uk.
The poll found that 6 per cent of motorists believe that the changes are not coming into force until next year.
Almost a third of those polled said they will wait for instructions from the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency.
However, the comparison website claims that the DVLA has not yet started adding warnings to tax renewal reminders.
Hannah Maundrell, editor in chief of money.co.uk, said: “Changes to the vehicle tax system are no bad thing and we fully welcome the introduction of direct debit payments, particularly for consumers who may be struggling to keep up with the soaring cost of driving.
“It will also help to eliminate the problem of people who genuinely forget to renew their tax and end up being stung with a hefty fine.
“However, I suspect the new system may experience some teething problems so drivers really need to make sure they're on top of their game.”
The move away from paper discs, after 93 years, is designed to offer motorists more flexible payment options and make it harder for people to evade taxing their cars.
Estimates show that the changes could save the taxpayer £10million a year. Car owners will still need to have paid vehicle tax to drive on the roads.
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But under the new system, the tax will no longer be automatically transferred with a car when it is sold.
Sellers are expected to tell the DVLA straight away of the change of ownership or face £1,000 fines.
Shane Teskey, from vehicle history check website hpicheck.com, told the Mail: “Those who fail to inform the DVLA, could be fined and they will still be liable for any speeding or parking fines and vehicle tax for a car they don't even own any more.”
Around 53 per cent of drivers said they would use the new option of paying by direct debit, according to the survey. Those choosing to spread the cost by paying twice a year or monthly will incur a 5 per cent additional charge.
However this is half of the 10 per cent surcharge currently applied to six-month tax discs, used by 23 per cent of drivers.
Motorists can also pay annually with no extra cost under the new system.
The scrapping of the tax disc has been well documented, and the change was officially announced in last year's Autumn Statement.
Automatic number plate recognition cameras will spot motorists who have not paid the tax. More than 1.7billion tax discs have been issued since 1921. Last year, the DVLA issued 42.2million of them.
- Death of the tax disc: learn new rules or risk £1,000 fine