How does UK traffic law work in terms of speeding tickets?
March 15, 2011 6:01 AM   Subscribe

How does UK traffic law work regarding being responsible for speeding tickets for rental cars? I have received a photo of the car that was rented under my name and that, on the Avis papers, I was the driver. However you cannot make out any kind of face or person driving the vehicle in the "photographic evidence" that the traffic cam took. In the UK, am I liable for the cost of the fine, regardless of whether the actual driver at that time can be proven from their photo? I.e. because I hired the car, I must pay the fine? Would there be any chance between the Road Safety Unit and Avis that I would be in more trouble if I can't remember if I was the driver at that time, the photo doesn't help, and I don't know who of the people travelling with me was driving at that time either (even though they weren't registered drivers for the rental)?
posted by talljamal to Travel & Transportation around United Kingdom (14 answers total)
 
because I hired the car, I must pay the fine?

This should be in the rental contract somewhere.

I don't think telling Avis that people who were not correctly signed up as extra drivers of the rental car may have been driving is going to make your situation any better (probably the opposite).
posted by EndsOfInvention at 6:28 AM on March 15, 2011


IANAL, but if you claim you were not driving you will be required by law to say who was. Failure to do so carries a penalty of its own. I doubt they are going to believe you don't know, given that it was a rental.
posted by londonmark at 6:31 AM on March 15, 2011


The form you get will ask you whether you were driving at the time, and if not, who was. The person who was driving is the person who gets pursued for the fine.

However, the penalty for driving without insurance is worse than the penalty for speeding - although I don't know how likely you are to be "found out". Presumably the non-registered drivers of your car were not insured to drive it.
posted by emilyw at 6:38 AM on March 15, 2011


The Avis rental agreement says:

"The vehicle must only be driven by the person(s) named in the Agreement, or by anyone Avis authorises in writing. "

and

"Renter will pay the following charges:
...
(d) On demand, all fines and court costs for parking, traffic or other offences (including any costs which arise if the vehicle is clamped). Renter must pay the appropriate authority any fines and costs. If he does not, Renter will be responsible to pay Avis’ reasonable administration charges which arise when Avis deals with these matters. "

So a) yes as the Renter you are liable for the speeding ticket, whoever it was that was driving, and b) if someone else was driving the vehicle you can get them to admit to the police that they were driving (and put them on the hook for any points on their licence) but this also is an admittance that you violated the rental agreement by letting an unauthorised driver drive the car and may open you (as the Renter) up for extra fines from Avis (although I don't know if they would actually find out about it).
posted by EndsOfInvention at 6:47 AM on March 15, 2011


You rented the car, you pay the fine, or they eventually pay it for you and charge you a hefty penalty on top for wasting their time. They do it that way precisely so they don't have to put up with this kind of bullshit.
posted by Dasein at 8:57 AM on March 15, 2011 [3 favorites]


Avis will find out about it because they will probably pay the fine on your behalf and charge you a processing fee, which is then charged to your credit card - if it's like any other car rental contract you gave them authority to do so when you signed it.
posted by Jakob at 9:06 AM on March 15, 2011


if it's like any other car rental contract you gave them authority to do so when you signed it.

Yep:
If it is Renter’s intention to pay by credit card or charge card then Renter’s signature on the Agreement shall constitute authority for Avis to compute and debit the final total charges against Renter’s account with its specified card-issuing organisation, including charges due as a result of theft of, or damage to the vehicle and any fines and court costs for parking and traffic offences as described in Clause 6 (d).
posted by EndsOfInvention at 9:09 AM on March 15, 2011


Avis will find out about it because they will probably pay the fine on your behalf and charge you a processing fee, which is then charged to your credit card - if it's like any other car rental contract you gave them authority to do so when you signed it.

It may work like this, but if it's a UK driver, I believe the police deal with them directly. The rental agency simply passes the renter's details on to the police (and charges them an administrative fee for the privilege).
posted by londonmark at 9:50 AM on March 15, 2011


Response by poster: Yep, Avis has already charged me a 30 pound fee, and I haven't even received anything but these Notice of Intended Prosecution letter and Photo evidence (upon request) so far.
Next I'll fill out the form and get some surprise amount for speeding, which hasn't been disclosed yet.

So I suppose I'll just bite the bullet on this one. Although I'd rather give them more shit (e.g.), because big brother deserves it in my opinion.
posted by talljamal at 2:05 PM on March 15, 2011


A fixed penalty for speeding is usually £60 and 3 points on your licence, but obviously this can vary according to the circumstances (how far over the speed limit you were, if it goes to court, etc).
posted by EndsOfInvention at 3:04 PM on March 15, 2011


I'm not sure how big brother is in the wrong here. You rented the car, they caught it speeding, you pay the ticket. If as between you and the other person who may or may not have been driving you want to work something out, that seems fair -- but there is certainly circumstantial proof that you were the person driving the car.
posted by J. Wilson at 3:30 PM on March 15, 2011 [3 favorites]


Response by poster: I was 10 miles over, eek. ...60 in a 50mph/construction zone, albeit at 18:00 hours...so no workers present. Still I know in the states the fines goes exponentially higher, right?
What about UK? Do you know EndsOfInvention?

The big brother comment was a general thing. I know I'm responsible for my actions, I just like subverting the Man.
posted by talljamal at 2:57 AM on March 17, 2011


It's hard to say without seeing the actual speeding ticket, but going from this page, you will get a Fixed Penalty Notice - £60 fine and 3 points. It looks like you would only get a court summons (and a much larger fine/more points/possible driving ban) if you had gone over 75mph in a 50 zone. At the bottom of that page there are examples of actual penalties with one matching your circumstances. It's not guaranteed though and the penalties can vary.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 3:42 AM on March 17, 2011


Response by poster: thanks for the link :)
posted by talljamal at 11:57 AM on March 23, 2011


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