Courtesy car drivers rack up fines

New figures released by bodyshop courtesy car supplier, Circle Leasing, have revealed that drivers of its courtesy cars incurred fines totalling almost £500,000 in 2017.

The company expect that this figure will continue to rise this year thanks to planned fleet growth and an increase in the number of Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras used by police and private parking companies.

Analysts at the leasing company grouped the motoring offences it received last year into 14 separate categories. The offences that generated the highest monetary amount in fines were related to parking fines, which amounted to a staggering £294,971 – almost triple the figure recorded in 2014.

Unpaid congestion charges in central London resulted in fines totalling £62,660. Meanwhile, unpaid fees to use the Dartford Crossing led to fines worth £36,172. There’s also evidence that drivers aren’t always as careful with courtesy cars as you might expect after 39 instances of dangerous driving generated £1,690 worth of fines.

Circle Leasing anticipates that the figures will worsen due to the congestion charge penalty in London, as well as the introduction of similar charges and low emission zones in cities other than the capital.

One of the primary reasons for the expected increase in fines incurred in 2018 is the rise in the number of private parking companies now operating up and down the UK.

Nearly 10,000 people made enquiries with the Citizens’ Advice Bureau about parking tickets last year, which has prompted the government to support new legislation aimed at raising standards in the industry.

Complaints have ranged from inconsistent practices, substandard signage, confusing appeals processes and intimidating letters demanding payment of fines.

In the 2016/17 financial year, private parking companies also obtained more than 4.7 million vehicle keeper records from the DVLA to send penalty charges to drivers who allegedly broke parking rules, with that figure expected to have topped 6,000,000 last year.

With the system being in such disarray, there is expected to be a raft of fines issued before any legislation is put into place.