Members of ACFO, the UK representative body for fleet decision-makers, and other visitors to Fleet News Company Car In Action 2016 are being urged to attend a special debate on motoring fines.
Fines for parking and motoring offences continue to be a legal, financial and HR administrative nightmare for fleet decision-makers and company car and van drivers alike.
Two years ago ACFO held a members ‘master class’ on the issue and with the volume of fines continuing to be issued on an ‘industrial scale’ there remains widespread concern from fleet managers notably around processing and administration handling.
The late 2014 introduction of the revised Dartford Crossing charge scheme has further added to the complexity of fines management and payment that already includes liabilities facing employees and employers when a local authority issues a Penalty Charge Notice or police issue a Fixed Penalty Notice; the fine and appeal process relating to parking in public car parks and on private land; and HR issues impacting on employers and employees when fines are levied.
This year’s debate will be chaired by Caroline Sheppard, chief adjudicator of the Traffic Penalty Tribunal, which considers appeals against penalties issued by councils for parking, bus lane and moving traffic contraventions in England (outside of London) and Wales as well as penalties issued for failing to pay a charge at the Dartford River Crossing and the Durham City congestion charge. Last month it started the roll out of a new online portal to help motorists appeal parking fines, an innovation that it is claimed will drastically accelerate the appeals process.
Other speakers and panelists at the debate, called “Another Fine Mess?”, will include representatives of:
- Highways England, which manages the the “free flow” payment scheme at the Dartford Crossing as well as strategic road network in England;
- Independent Parking Committee, an accredited trade association for parking enforcement companies that runs its own in-house Independent Appeals Service;
- Parking Eye, the parking enforcement company which last year famously won a long-running legal battle in the Supreme Court over an £85 parking charge on a driver who overstayed a permitted two-hour period of free parking in a shopping centre car park. The judge ruled the charge was not “extravagant or unconscionable”.
Additionally, it is anticipated that a representative of a daily rental company and an ACFO fleet manager member will talk about their experiences of managing vehicle-related fines.
ACFO director Debbie Floyde, who is instrumental in arranging the debate and is group fleet and risk manager at Bauer Media, which publishes Fleet News, said: “Motoring-related fines remain a major issue for fleet managers, particularly in respect of parking and Dartford Crossing due to fundamental issues around processing and administration.
“Our members are frequently caught in the middle between the organisation issuing the fine and the driver who in many cases is ultimately responsible for paying the charge.
“In many areas, the rules around payment are confusing and appear inconsistent, and many drivers may not immediately know that they have been ‘caught’ with any potential offence only coming to light many days later when notification is received.
“We want to know from organisations issuing the fines and those handling the appeals process whether as fleet managers we can be more efficient when notification of penalties are received to reduce the whole administration process.”
To register for your free place at Company Car in Action visit www.companycarinaction.co.uk.
To register your interest in the ACFO debate, Another Fine Mess, visit http://company-car-in-action.fleetnews.co.uk/for-visitors/the-great-debates