Road tax and parking fine dodgers could see their vehicles clamped on Rotherham’s roads in future if the council adopts a proposed new policy to crack down on offenders.
At present, the council can have vehicles seized and taken to a compound when they identified as having no road tax or have at least six unpaid parking tickets outstanding.
But that system is regarded as potentially wasteful, because sometimes motorists return and drive off, and also because it can put council officers at risk.
When cars used by fine dodgers are seen parked illegally on the road, current council policy is to block in the vehicle with their own, to ensure the driver cannot move.
However, a report to the council’s ruling Cabinet accepts that some drivers caught in that situation can react with dangerous driving.
It states: “There have been a number of occasions when the driver has returned to the vehicle and driven it away before it could be blocked in.
“There have also been other occasions when vehicles that are blocked in have been manoeuvred in a dangerous manner, such as being driven away over the footway.”
The proposal is to allow council staff to use clamps to immobilise vehicles, instead of moving them immediately.
That would still happen after 24 hours for untaxed vehicles unless payment was made.
Current arrangements are seen as inefficient because when an untaxed vehicle is seen, the council has to wait for checks with the DVLA to confirm it remains untaxed, which means ‘lost’ time for an officer who has to stay with it.
The whole operation then has to be cancelled if the driver turns up in the meantime and moves the car.
Under the proposed arrangements, that delay would be removed not only allowing effective action against the driver involved, but freeing up more officer time to allow them to continue enforcement duties elsewhere.
The council has the option of continuing with current arrangements, but Cabinet members are being asked to adopt a policy: “That the Parking Services Team implements a revised operational procedure to immobilise untaxed vehicles and vehicles of persistent evaders of Parking PCNs, on the public highway.
“This option would significantly reduce the risks associated with the enforcement of untaxed vehicles and persistent evaders, to Parking Services employees. This option also has the potential to generate additional income to the Council.”
The council acts as agent to the DVLA for enforcing the law around untaxed vehicles.