Fleet News

Coronavirus: Leniency expected for speeding and parking fine response times

Speed camera

Fleet operators and business owners should not face prosecution for failing to respond to speeding tickets and other fixed penalty notices (FPNs) during the Coronavirus lockdown, if they can prove they were unable to access their mail.

In the event that a company registered vehicle is caught speeding, or committing another road traffic offence, a Section 172 notice will be sent to the registered keeper.

If a vehicle is registered to a business then a fleet manager or business owner must respond to the notice within 28 days, or face court summons. However, the Coronavirus lockdown may prevent some operators from receiving the notice if their business address is closed or accessing it would contravene lockdown rules.

Fleet News contacted the Home Office to see if there was any legislation to protect operators in this instance. All it could respond with was: “In all circumstances, it is important that people park and drive safely, obey the speed limit and reduce the demand on the emergency services.”

The National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC) was able to clarify that 7(b) of Section 172 of the Road Traffic Act states that “the person on whom the notice is served shall not be guilty of an offence under this section if he shows either that he gave the information as soon as reasonably practicable after the end of that period or that it has not been reasonably practicable for him to give it”.

This means that if a business has been served the notice, it must be able to show that it could not reasonably give the information within the stipulated timeframe.

An NPCC spokesperson added: “Every situation is dealt with on a case-by-case basis by the local police force.”

Fleet operators and business owners should therefore plan to respond to any tickets as soon as possible, clearly stipulating the reason for a delayed response.

What if a company vehicle is issued a parking ticket during the lockdown?

Parking enforcement has been relaxed across the country, with many councils telling their enforcement agents to stand down.

It is still possible that a vehicle could be issued with a parking ticket and operators could face higher charges for not paying quickly enough.

The British Parking Association, which regulates the parking enforcement industry, said: “In the current circumstances we would expect our members to be mindful of any difficulties and accept the lower rate.”

It advised any operators that were unable to respond to a ticket within the required timeframe to contact the parking enforcement agency or local authority in the first instance and explain the situation. If unsuccessful, the BPA said it will assist fleet operators if they contact it directly.

To read more about penalty charge notices and fixed penalty notices, click here.

Congestion charge and ULEZ charges have been suspended during the Coronavirus lockdown. 

Managing company vehicles during COVID-19 - A Fleet News webinar

Whether your drivers are working from home, furloughed or part of the country’s essential operations, this webinar from Driving for Better Business and FleetCheck, hosted by Fleet News editor-in-chief Stephen Briers, outlines the key issues all fleets face now and over the coming months.

The past few weeks have presented many new and unique challenges for fleet operators. While those deemed non-essential may have vehicles laid up for an unknown period of time, others deemed essential are operating at or beyond their usual capacity.

On top of managing the issues today, there will be very different challenges to manage as the lockdown is lifted and businesses begin a return to more usual operational levels.

There are significant vehicle maintenance, risk management and duty of care issues that all fleet operators need to be aware of during this time of unprecedented disruption.

Watch now

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Comments

  • Glenn Ewen - 17/04/2020 11:22

    Having been working from home now for the last three weeks, it is clear that there needs to be a reform of the speeding/parking fine administration. How difficult would it be, in this electronic age, to add an email address to a V5C? Some tasks can already be completed online, so why not provide the email address (generic for companies) for communications? Make the rules the same as for notifying address changes, and they should always be able to contact Registered Keepers, and forward their details on to authorised parties.

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