Drivers warned of car-sharing blunders could cost them £2,500 this Christmas
DRIVERS have been warned of a carsharing blunder that could land them a hefty fine this Christmas.
With party season upon us and people looking for a specific driver as the cost of living continues to bite, using ridesharing as a side hustle to make a bit of money could land you in hot water.
Motorists could face a fine of up to £2,500 and be left uninsured.
It’s common practice to offer rides to friends and family, and there are hundreds of local groups on social media sites that help arrange car sharing, where people can offer rides to strangers for a fee.
While it’s perfectly fine to give a ride to others and ask them to help pay for fuel, there could be serious consequences if the driver does so to make a profit.
The head of a temporary car insurance company VeygoJames Armstrong, said: “Under the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994, so-called ‘taxi advertising’, whereby an unlicensed vehicle is used as a taxi in a public place to carry passengers for money, is illegal.
“If you are caught by the police it is a Level 4 offense and you can be fined £2,500 if found guilty.
“This would apply to any driver using their private vehicle essentially as a taxi service, making a profit and not holding the necessary taxi licenses.”
Although “taxi solicitation” includes soliciting fares in public, anyone arranging a ride in advance must also be careful to comply with the law.
Armstrong said: “If you occasionally offer rides to help acquaintances get home, you need to be aware of the Public Passenger Car Act.
“For the lift to be legal, it has to be organized in advance and the money you take from the passengers should never be more than the running costs, such as the cost of the lift. E.g. fuel.”
He added: “If you’re found guilty of making profits using lifts in an unregistered car or van, you could also void your insurance and be liable for repair costs and legal fees if you’re involved in an accident .
“According to the Association of British Insurers, your insurance coverage will not be affected if your passengers contribute to your travel expenses (including fuel, vehicle depreciation and associated vehicle running costs) as long as ride sharing is provided in a vehicle with eight passengers or fewer.
“However, it is recommended that if you are part of a car or ridesharing scheme, you carefully review the terms and conditions and speak to your insurer to verify that you have the right level of coverage.”
Armstrong also advised anyone thinking of using an unlicensed rideshare to consider their own safety.
He said: “When you call or hail a licensed taxi you can be assured that they have passed rigorous checks and have undergone a criminal background check.
“However, if you’re chatting with a friend of a friend on WhatsApp, or responding to a rideshare offer on a Facebook group, you may be putting your safety at risk.
“So always stop and think before you decide on a ride, and when in doubt arrange a way home with a licensed cab driver or someone you know and trust.”
https://www.thesun.ie/motors/9941294/drivers-warned-car-sharing-mistake-christmas-fine/ Drivers warned of car-sharing blunders could cost them £2,500 this Christmas