Drivers fined staggering £2.6billion for breaking road rules

Drivers received an estimated £2.61billion of parking and traffic fines in the last financial year following a record 12 months. In that same time period, 32.17 million requests were made for vehicle-keeper details from the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA).

Private parking companies made 8.57 million requests to the DVLA for driver details following the submission of a vehicle number plate in 2021 and 2022.

Requests from local authorities, including councils and Transport for London (TfL), topped 15.29 million, according to carwow.

The DVLA raised an impressive £23.9million in gross income from sharing driver details in 2021/22, the highest level on record. 

The DVLA’s Keeper At Date Of Event (KADOE) database is accessible to registered private companies and public authorities, providing the name and address of a vehicle’s registered keeper on the submission of a number plate. 

After obtaining these details, private companies, councils and other organisations are able to issue parking and other fines to drivers. 

Penalties range from as little as £25 for a parking ticket issued outside London and paid within two weeks, to £160 for a breach of Red Route rules in the capital. 

Assuming an average penalty of £92.50, drivers were fined an estimated £2.6billion in 2021 and 2022, up from £1.63billion in 2017 and 2018.

The 2022/23 financial year looks set to see those numbers rise even further based on results for the first quarter, with a projected £2.91billion worth of penalties set to be issued. 

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Local councils and other authorities do not have to pay for accessing a registered keeper’s details from KADOE, which DVLA says covers the cost of providing data.

However, a £2.50 fee is charged to private companies like parking firms each time they request details.

The DVLA’s gross income from paid KADOE requests may have increased dramatically over recent years, but just as noteworthy is the 71 percent increase in the number of times local and transport authorities have used the service from 2017 and 2018, to 2021 and 2022. 

As one example, Birmingham City Council made 126,771 applications for driver details via KADOE in 2017/18, a figure that had increased almost tenfold by 2021/2 to 1.19 million following the introduction of the city’s Clean Air Zone in June 2021.

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Hugo Griffiths, consumer editor at carwow, said: “Drivers face a constant threat of fines and penalties over the course of day-to-day life, to the extent that a car’s number plate is no longer just a vehicle registration mark.

“It has become a proxy for a driver’s sort code and bank account number.

“Nobody would suggest not enforcing road rules, and the DVLA is only doing its job by fulfilling requests for driver details. 

“Nonetheless, a huge number of traffic restrictions and clean-air zones have sprung up in recent years, while local councils were recently given new powers to enforce moving traffic offences.

“With a 57 percent rise in the number of requests for driver details being made since 2017, and record estimated fines for motorists being issued, greater oversight, and an official investigation into whether drivers are being treated fairly, feel long overdue.”

Transport for London was the biggest individual driver of the growth from local authority KADOE use, with TfL making just 1.49 million requests in 2017/18, a figure that rose to 4.12 million in 2021/11, and is projected to grow to 4.5 million in 2022/23. 

The spread of the capital’s Ultra Low Emission Zone is likely to be behind much of that increase, with the zone growing from a small central area of the city to take in all parts inside the North and South Circular roads in October 2021

A spokesperson for the DVLA said: “The fee charged for the release of keeper details is set to recover the cost of providing the information. 

“This means that the cost is borne by those requesting the information and not passed onto the general taxpayer. 

“We take our responsibility to protect information extremely seriously and we have robust safeguards in place to ensure data is used correctly. 

“If we become aware of any issues, we will investigate and take swift action where appropriate.” 

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