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Penalty rules for seized vehicles

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Haulage firms wanting to get back vehicles seized under VOSA immobilisation notices now have to stump up £80.

Firms will be able to make the payments at the roadside via their credit or debit card or even over the phone - but before a vehicle can hit the road again any defects will have to have been corrected.

The payments will be made by the vehicle operators rather than those actually behind the wheel - a move which differs from fixed penalties.

It is thought the new rules around the immobilisation fines will be of interest to those with fleets of commercial vehicles, many of whom will have taken out van insurance.

VOSA officers seize vehicles with serious mechanical defects. Other reasons include when the driver has been working dangerously long hours, or where a fixed penalty deposit has not been paid.

Alex Fiddes, VOSA operations director, said: "VOSA immobilises dangerous vehicles and issues graduated fixed penalties and deposits to drivers - but it is right that those who commit the offences contribute more to the cost of enforcement.

"Charging operators a release fee is a further deterrent to those who flout the rules and will help to level the playing field for law-abiding operators."

© Press Association 2011