Last updated March 03, 2023
There are several reasons why you may want to identify a car’s owner from its registration plate:
Perhaps your car was damaged in an accident - and you managed to record the registration of the other vehicle involved, but not the driver’s details.
Maybe you’ve been troubled by a specific car persistently blocking your driveway or playing loud music near your home and are unsure who to speak to about the matter.
You might also be interested in buying a car but want to verify that the seller is its rightful owner before committing.
Obtaining the details of an unknown driver from a registration number isn’t as straightforward as you might think. Unfortunately, no free or premium ‘vehicle check’ service can tell you the personal details of a driver from their registration number alone.
However, in some limited circumstances, you may be able to find an owner’s details from their registration number.
Although it’s very likely that the DVLA hold the details you are looking for, they won’t provide personal information about a driver unless they agree that you have ‘reasonable cause’ to request this. Reasonable cause incorporates matters relating to road safety and events relating to vehicle use.
For more detailed information, please refer to the DVLA’s booklet, ‘Release of information from DVLA’s register’.
If you believe that you have cause to request a driver’s details from the DVLA, you should complete a V888 form and post it (with a cheque or postal order for £2.50 made payable to ‘DVLA, Swansea’) to the following address:
Vehicle Record Enquiries, DVLA, Swansea, SA99 1AJ.
You cannot find out the owner’s details by registration with any car check tool or service. The only ownership detail a car check will provide is the number of different owners a vehicle has had.
You will not be able to find out any further details about the current or previous owners using this method.
Whilst online tools cannot assist with retrieving owner information from a registration number, there are several other methods at your disposal – and the correct process to follow depends on your reason for requesting the owner’s details:
If someone has abandoned their vehicle outside your property, but you aren’t sure how to get in contact with them, simply report the vehicle to your local authority.
You could submit a V888 form to the DVLA and provide a ‘reasonable cause’ for obtaining their details, but it’s much easier to simply report the car rather than doing any investigative work yourself.
You can contact the DVLA and fill in a V888 form to request information about the vehicle.
The first place to start is the Vehicle Enquiry Service, which is a branch of the DVLA.
From here, you can find out information about the car itself (e.g. its make, colour, registration date, fuel type etc.), but not the owner’s details.
You may have some success tracking down the new owner through social media – or by enquiring through an owner’s club (if the car is a ‘classic car’). You can also try asking at the relevant dealership if you traded in your car.
In the event of an accident where the driver refused to provide their details (or failed to stop at all), you should contact the police, providing the driver’s registration, if possible, as they have powers to locate them.
However, if you do need to trace a driver who has failed to provide their details following an accident, the DVLA will likely honour your request for their details. You can request this information by submitting a V888 form to the DVLA.
There are many free and premium car check tools available online that can help you retrieve key information about a vehicle from its registration number. For instance, webuyanycar have several free tools available to help you find out more about a specific vehicle: