Monday, November 21, 2005

Thousands of drivers face clamping for old offences...but the clamping will be illegal!

This article exposes how this Government is completely at sea with this legislation and totally unaware of the massive problems and embarassment it is about to face.
Even the British Parking Association doesn't understand the situation.
Here are the problems they are going to face:
  • the DVLA data base is not accurate and therefore the time lag between selling a vehicle and adding a new keeper to the registration data base could be a number of weeks
  • the Royal Mail loses 14 million items of mail a year and the DVLA data base is completely reliant on the public to provide information.
  • the DVLA loses mail internally so people may have their vehicles clamped and removed simply because of the system and alleged offences committed by others

But here are the even bigger problems:

  • the Bill of Rights prevents the forfeiture or seizure of goods before conviction. No court is involved. This isssue is becoming a bigger political hot potato by the day.

and the most embarassing of all for the Department for Transport and the British Parking Association who appear to be totally ignorant of the 1991 Road Traffic Act:

  • it is not the driver who commits the offence. It is the 'registered keeper / owner (there is a rebuttal presumption in the legislation that the keeper is the owner) who is held responsible. Therefore, there are not 100,000 errant drivers...the DVLA data base does not hold records of 'drivers.' In fact a 'registered keeper' may be a non driver, a blind person or child. The problems do not stop there. The Pandora's Box that this Act has opened up will expose DVLA to a legal challenge by a 'registered keeper should their vehicle be clamped. The reason...the DVLA does not inform the person (on the V5 Registration Document) who agrees to become the registered keeper of a vehicle, that that person will be liable for offences committed by another person.

Thousands of drivers face clamping for old offences
By Ben Webster,
Transport Correspondent
The Times
November 17, 2005

AT LEAST 100,000 drivers who have failed to pay parking fines face having their cars clamped or removed under plans for a national database which will trace them wherever they are in the country.

Their vehicles will be targeted as soon as they are spotted, even if parked legally outside their homes. The database would include all drivers with three or more outstanding penalties for parking offences, driving in bus lanes, minor traffic infringements or failing to pay the congestion charge.

Across London alone, there are more than 50,000 drivers with three or more unpaid penalties. The figure nationally could easily be double that.
Local authorities plan to pool information on unpaid tickets so that vehicles can be clamped anywhere in the country for offences that may have been committed many miles away.

Motoring groups gave warning last night that the database would result in thousands of innocent drivers having vehicles clamped because of flaws in records or after buying a vehicle with a history of offences.

Wardens will be able to check a car’s record on their handheld computers and summon a clamping van. Drivers will have to pay all the outstanding fines as well as release and storage fees in order to recover their vehicles. This could mean a bill of at least £500.

The national parking offenders database is being considered by a Department for Transport working group, which is preparing new guidelines for parking enforcement. Studies have found that serial parking offenders are more likely also to be committing other motoring offences, such as driving without insurance, a licence or a valid MoT certificate.

Keith Banbury, the chief executive of the British Parking Association and a member of the working group, said: “Drivers often throw their tickets away because they have failed to register or insure their cars and believe they cannot be traced.

“By creating a national offenders database, parking attendants all over the UK would be able to act quickly, to the benefit of the public.”

At present, local authorities must tackle each offence separately and cannot force a persistent offender to pay all outstanding penalties. Drivers can recover their cars by paying the fine for a single offence even if they have accumulated dozens of unpaid tickets.

The London Motorists’ Action Group is campaigning against overzealous parking enforcement. Tom Conti, the actor and LMAG co-founder, had to pay £1,600 after disputing four penalties, He said that authorities could not be trusted to use the database fairly.

Lord Lucas of Crudwell and Dingwall, the LMAG chairman, said: “It is incredibly disproportionate to seize a person’s vehicle when they may be legitimately disputing unfair penalties.”

No comments:

Blog Archive

only search Neil Herron Blog