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SAME NAME, DIFFERENT DRIVER: Mistaken identity sees taxi driver receive licence disqualification notice

A case of mistaken identity saw a taxi driver sharing the same name as another motorist receive an incorrect licence disqualification notice.

Steve McNamara, General Secretary of the Licensed Taxi Drivers' Association (LTDA), recently highlighted a peculiar incident that has led to ongoing legal challenges for taxi drivers. McNamara revealed in TAXI Newspaper that the LTDA's legal team is currently dealing with three cases involving mistaken identity that have serious implications for drivers' livelihoods.

The first case involved a driver who received a disqualification notice from the DVLA, alleging he had committed a driving offence in Dorset. This was surprising as the driver had never visited Dorset and had no knowledge of any offence.

The LTDA legal team discovered that another individual with the same name and date of birth, living in a different region, had been charged with a speeding offence. This individual ignored a Notice to Owner and subsequently, a Single Justice Procedure Notice. As a result, they were convicted in absentia, and the offence was wrongly attributed to the taxi driver.

Through extensive communication with Dorset agencies, including the court, and a video hearing, the LTDA lawyers were able to clear the taxi driver’s name. They arranged for a statutory declaration to confirm the member's innocence, which led to the erroneous conviction being overturned. The DVLA was then notified to rectify the disqualification, allowing the driver to resume work.

This case highlights the potential pitfalls of bureaucratic errors and the critical role of legal assistance in resolving such issues. The association is now handling two additional cases of mistaken identity, highlighting the importance of having robust legal backing to protect drivers from administrative errors that can have severe consequences.

McNamara said in TAXI Newspaper: “I detailed what I thought, at the time, was an unusual case for our legal team. It now transpires that whilst it is not that common, we have another two very similar cases that our lawyers are dealing with at the moment.

“The initial incident concerned a member who received a letter from the DVLA in Swansea asking him to surrender his driving licence as he had been disqualified from driving by a court in Dorset. Our member knew nothing about any disqualification, had never been to Dorset, and certainly had not broken any driving laws down that way. Luckily for him he was our member. He quickly attended Taxi House and our in-house legal team were immediately on the case.

“After spending hours on the phone to various agencies in Dorset (including the Court itself), a flurry of emails and an online meeting, both we, and the Court, were eventually able to figure out what had happened. Someone with an identical name and date of birth from a totally different part of the country had been sent, and completely ignored, a Notice to Owner (S172) for a speeding offence. They had then been sent a Single Justice Procedure Notice (SJPN) for failing to notify and had been convicted in their absence and awarded six points. Because the owner had ignored all the paperwork the points were given to the registered keeper, and these were mistakenly put on our member's driving licence.

“Our lawyers were then able to arrange a video hearing and our member made a statutory declaration to confirm it was not him. As a result, they were able to get the conviction squashed and then made the DVLA aware of the error. The disqualification was eventually cancelled and our member back driving and at work.

“It all turned out ok in the end, but this simple case of mistaken identity had already cost our member considerably with time off the road and a whole lot of stress and inconvenience. Without our lawyers, he would probably still be sat at home without a driving licence trying to unravel the whole mess.”


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