Share beware: giving lifts could cost
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Share beware: giving lifts could cost

While driving a friend to and from locations can be common practice, anyone found to be making a profit from their car journeys could get in trouble with the law. 

As well as a fine, motorists could also have their insurance invalidated if they are found to be operating as an ‘illegal taxi’. 

That’s because drivers aren’t allowed to make a profit unless they have a valid taxi or private hire licence, although taking petrol money and a contribution towards running costs is fine.

James O’Malley, director of leading automotive outfit Select Car Leasing, said: 

“When restrictions allow, car sharing and giving lifts will start to return and can be a good idea to save money and cut down on emissions. But it’s always handy to point out to motorists some of the relatively unknown laws that mean they could be unwittingly caught out. Something as simple as charging a mate for a ride could mean you fall foul of the law and is certainly worth knowing about.”

The ‘illegal taxi’ offence hit the headlines in 2018 when Dorset Police warned against a Facebook group which had been set up in order for people to share lifts in and around the Bournemouth and Poole area.

Officers explained:

“When getting into a vehicle with an unlicensed and unvetted stranger, you have no knowledge of their background and risk your own personal safety. Please consider an alternative journey home, either by contacting a trusted friend or relative, catching a bus or using a licenced taxi. Before offering a lift in exchange for money you should speak to your insurance company as this could invalidate your insurance and may result in your vehicle being seized by police, a fixed penalty notice or prosecution resulting in a fine, points on your license or disqualification from driving.”

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