Drivers dodge the lawDriving fine address scam revealed

10 April 2006

Car parking sign

            

Drivers are increasingly trying to avoid driving fines by using a bogus address so they can't be traced.

They use an anonymous mail box as the keeper's registered address, rather than their home address. So if they're issued with a fine, when the police or a local authority trace them through the number plate, letters just go to the mail box.

Motoring lobby group the the RAC Foundation, says the practice of registering a PO box as a main address is becoming increasingly widespread.

False address warning

But it warns that those who register at a false address with the intention of avoiding motoring fines could be charged with conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.

Edmund King, from the foundation, said: 'We knew this was going on but I think it has risen fairly dramatically. We have known for some time that in London you have got fraudulently registered cars so that people can beat the congestion charge, drive in bus lanes and ignore over-zealous traffic wardens as well as speeding fines. It appears that this problem has now extended beyond London into other areas.'

Mr King said a new system of number plate identification would make it much harder for people to hide.

The automatic number plate recognition system shows up any unpaid fines, lack of insurance, or other motoring offences when someone enters a number plate into the database. Police officers can then stop people immediately.

Widespread confusion over parking

A Home Office spokesman said the government was also looking into the scam to understand the size of the problem and whether any new laws were needed. He added that it was an offence to use a vehicle that was incorrectly registered with the DVLA.

Last November, Which? called on the government to sort out Britain's parking problems after our research found widespread confusion, with many motorists unaware how they could appeal a parking fine.

More than one in four motorists were unaware where they were allowed to park, while complaints about over-zealous attendants were rife.

We found the problem was further exacerbated by the fact councils keep revenue from parking fines and can set targets for the number of tickets issued, pressurising contractors and attendants to meet targets rather than keeping traffic flowing.