A LEASING company spending up to a quarter of a million pounds every month paying fines accrued by fleet drivers is calling for better driver education to reduce the massive administrative burden involved.
Most of the fines paid out by Lex Vehicle Leasing arise from non-payment of the London congestion charge and others are for speeding and illegal parking. It is now urging fleets to educate drivers about their company's policy regarding speeding fines, parking tickets and the London congestion charge.
Over a 12-month period, Lex's 6,500 customers and their drivers receive £3 million in fines. Latest figures analysed by the company show that since the congestion charge began in February the number of fixed penalties received by Lex has more than doubled, hitting a record 4,700 in March.
Lex is sent the fixed penalty notices as the registered owner of its 97,000-strong fleet of cars and vans. It then completes the paperwork to transfer liability to its customers. In some cases transfer of liability is not an option offered by the authority and Lex is forced to pay the fine and then recharge its customers.
Lex has employed two extra staff who are spending 300 hours each month dealing with the increase in administration.
Debbie Morgan, service delivery manager at Lex Vehicle Leasing, said: 'The increase in fines in such a short space of time has been incredible and the excuses coming back from drivers on why they haven't paid fines or the London congestion charge is quite amusing.
'Some drivers have said that because they are driving a company lease car they thought Lex paid their fines and the congestion charge. Drivers also think that if they do not pay a parking ticket it will eventually go away. This type of approach delays payment and results in the fine doubling or, in extreme cases, them being visited by a bailiff.'