Drivers are being alerted to a little-known UK law that could see them risk being fined up to £2,500 along with the seizure of their vehicle.
And it’s all by simply by giving their friends and family a lift.
Or more specifically, drivers could be hit with these massive penalties if they are found out to be making a profit from charging people, or accepting money for giving lifts, as the law does not legally permit this.
While it is legal for drivers to accept petrol money or reimbursement of costs for travel, the RAC says drivers face fines and invalidating their insurance if they turn a profit.
Offering a further insight into the law by speaking to the Daily Express, Tim Schwarz – a spokesperson for motoring experts at Moneybarn – warned about the dangers of what is known as ‘taxi touting’.
He said: “Taxis home from the airport, train station and even nights out are notoriously expensive [and] in this scenario, many of us turn to the kindness of friends and family to give us a lift home.
“But did you know it’s illegal for them to accept payment for this service?”
He continued: “Cab services are very heavily regulated in the UK, especially since the rise of Uber in the modern age, so accepting money when unlicensed is not okay in the eyes of the law [and] without the right documentation, be prepared for a £2,500 fine, six licence points and even seizure of your vehicle.”
So why is this then? Well, experts at Paul D’Ambrogio Solicitors said the law is there to protect people from the dangers of unlicensed drivers, with the company’s site explaining that: “Taxi touting is an offence that both licensed and unlicensed taxi drivers can fall foul of.
“Touting for trade involves soliciting people in a public place to hire a vehicle to carry them as a passenger.
“For taxi drivers without a licence, it is an offence to solicit people in public or display the word ‘taxi’ on your vehicle [and] for licensed taxi drivers, it is an offence to transport a passenger who hasn’t booked through a licensed minicab operator.”
They reiterated that: “The regulations regarding booking a taxi in advance have been enforced to help preserve the safety of both passengers and drivers.”
It turns out however that securing payment from passengers may not being the easiest task anyway, as a recent study by insurance provider Admiral has revealed that 73% of people don’t offer money towards petrol after accepting a journey.
Around 72% claimed that even close friends didn’t offer to pay towards the journey costs.
To top it all off, 63% of British road users say they would found it awkward to ask for money in return for a lift, and 35% said they would turn down the offer of petrol money because they would feel too uncomfortable accepting it after all.
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