Driver’s Web Portal Simplifies Buying Used Cars for Ukrainians, Eliminates Corruption

Speeches Shim

Wednesday, December 2, 2020

With the introduction of a new online service, Ukrainians can now review historical reports and accident information about a car that interests them, without middlemen or bribes.

Oleksiy, a businessman in the fruit and vegetable sector, often has to drive around the country to set up deals with growers and distributors, check the quality of the goods, and pick up various items. His company has several vehicles in its fleet at any given time, both passenger cars and cargo vans. Every vehicle that Oleksiy owns is used and the fleet constantly needs replacements.

Buying a second-hand car in Ukraine used to be anything but simple. In the past, Oleksiy would go to the online marketplace, find a car he liked and drive to the city where it was being sold (typically somewhere in western Ukraine) to check it out. While there, he would get the vehicle identification number (VIN) from the owner and call a friend at the Auto Inspection Service (DAI), who would verify it in his database. Since these databases were not accessible to the public, business owners like Oleksiy would have to have an “in” at the DAI. “You simply couldn’t buy a used car without an intermediary, otherwise you didn’t know what you were getting,” explains Oleksiy.

By searching the database, Oleksiy’s connection at the DAI was able to uncover information such as whether a car had been involved in any accidents, the number of previous owners it had had, and the date it was first registered in Ukraine. Each VIN verification service cost Oleksiy UAH 5,260 ($200). Another UAH 2,630 ($100) went towards his trip to get the car and DAI assistance with registration. In short, Oleksiy was paying on average an additional UAH 7,890 ($300) in bribes per car. Unless he paid these bribes, Oleksiy risked buying a stolen car, a car with a tampered odometer, or one with other hidden problems and damage.

As of late 2018, Ukrainians can now search a car’s history by its VIN through the Driver’s Web Portal, developed with assistance from the USAID / UK aid project Transparency and Accountability in Public Administration and Services (TAPAS) activity, for merely UAH 45.68 (less than $2). The eServices component supports state authorities with the eTransformation of their administrative services so that public service delivery is more transparent, convenient and efficient.

Nine eServices have been developed and launched to date under the TAPAS program. Currently, the most popular eServices are: the declaration of compliance with fire safety regulations; fire safety licenses; transportation carrier’s eCabinet (user account); services within the Driver’s Web Portal; and the permit for special water use.

Since Oleksiy typically buys a car every one or two years, the portal allows him to save between $150-300 a year. As of today, drivers have verified vehicle VIN codes via the Driver’s Web Portal more than 44,000 times and paid the state more than UAH 2 mln ($77,000). That is 100 times less than if they would pay middlemen or bribes and, thanks to the Driver’s Web Portal, the revenues went to the state not to corrupt officials.

To date, 31 eServices have been developed and 27 of them have been launched to date under the TAPAS program. Users of the Driver’s Web Portal can also place themselves in an online queue to register a vehicle, order a driver’s license, or get an individualized license plate.