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STOP! What rights do I have as a taxi driver or motorist if the police pull me over?

Updated: May 8, 2023

The police have a tough job on their hands and policing the roads is no different. But what rights do you have as cabbie and a motorist should the police pull you over?

According to Government website sources, the police can stop a vehicle for any reason. If they ask you to stop, you should always pull over when it’s safe to do so. You are breaking the law if you do not stop.

Once stopped, the police can ask to see any of the following:

  • driving licence

  • insurance certificate

  • MOT certificate.

In the digital world we now all live in, not all motorists will have all three documents on them. If you do not have these documents with you, you have 7 days to take them to a police station. You’re breaking the law if you do not show the requested documents within 7 days.

The police can also give you an on-the-spot fixed penalty notice for a few different minor offences and make you take a breath test in certain circumstances.

You can also have your vehicle seized if you’re stopped on suspicion of driving without insurance and for some other offences.

What is a ‘minor’ motoring offence?

The police can give you a ‘fixed penalty notice’ for less serious traffic offences. These include:

  • careless or inconsiderate driving

  • using a mobile phone whilst driving

  • not wearing a seat belt

  • driving too close to another vehicle.

You can be fined up to £200 and get penalty points on your licence if you get a fixed penalty notice - you may be disqualified from driving if you build up 12 points within 3 years.

The police can also decide to:

  • take no action

  • issue a warning

  • offer driver training

  • charge you with an offence.

All motorists CAN choose not to pay the fixed penalty if they believe that it was given unjustly, but they’ll have to argue the case in court.

What happens if the police finds a fault with my vehicle?

If police locate a fault with your vehicle, for example a broken brake light, the police may give you a ‘vehicle defect rectification notice’ instead of a fine.

The vehicle's owner will need to get their vehicle fixed and provide proof that it’s been fixed. Proof might include a receipt for the work from a mechanic. Motorists have 14 days from the date of the notice to show the proof to the police.

When can the police seize my vehicle?

The police can seize a vehicle if they think it’s being used in a way that causes alarm, harassment or distress, for example careless or inconsiderate driving.

Police can also seize a vehicle if they think it’s:

  • being driven by someone who does not have a proper licence or insurance

  • dangerously, illegally or obstructively parked

  • broken-down or abandoned.

If your vehicle is seized it can get very expensive! There’s a ‘release fee’ of up to £200 plus a storage fee of £20 for every day or part day.


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