carwow investigation finds motorists are being fined huge amounts as requests to the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency for driver details reach record levels
Drivers received an estimated £2.61 billion of parking and traffic fines in the last financial year following a record 12 months that saw 32.17 million requests made for vehicle-keeper details from the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency.
Private parking companies made 8.57 million requests to the DVLA for driver details following the submission of a vehicle number plate in 2021/22, while requests from local authorities including councils and Transport for London topped 15.29 million.
The DVLA raised £23.9 million in gross income from sharing driver details in 2021/22, the highest level on record.
Sharing your data so you can be fined
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 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 14 days, to £160 for a breach of Red Route rules in the capital. Assuming an average penalty of £92.50, drivers were fined an estimated £2.61bn in 2021/22, up from £1.63bn in 2017/18.
The 2022/23 financial year looks set to see those numbers rise even further based on results for the first quarter, with a projected £2.91bn worth of penalties set to be issued.
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, but a £2.50 fee is charged to private companies like parking firms each time they request details.
Huge increase local authorities accessing details
The DVLA’s gross income from paid KADOE requests may have increased dramatically over recent years, but just as noteworthy is the 71% increase in the number of times local and transport authorities have used the service from 2017/18, to 2021/22.
A total of 8.94 million such requests were made in FY 2017/18, a figure that rose to 15.29m in 2021/22, and is projected to increase further this year based on first quarter results.
This growth is likely due to a number of factors, including the rise of clean air zones and low-traffic neighbourhoods, which restrict access to certain roads, with penalty enforcement often facilitated by automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) cameras, which capture vehicle registrations.
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.
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 4.12m in 2021/11, and is projected to grow to 4.5m 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 further planned expansion to all areas inside the M25 due in August 2023 means the projected figure for KADOE requests from local authorities in FY 2022/23 could rise significantly.
Despite these vast figures, complaints from registered vehicle keepers to the DVLA about the release of their information are relatively low, with just 1,666 informal complaints made to the organisation from 2019 to 2022, of which just 239 were upheld. The DVLA also told carwow of 417 formal complaints made from 2018-22 using its complaints procedures, or by submission via an MP, although it could not tell carwow how many formal complaints were upheld.