Graduated Fixed Penalty Notice

Vehicle immobilisation was introduced by an amendment to the Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988 which is contained in the Road Safety Act 2006. This means that if the reasons stated below apply a vehicle can be prohibited with immediate effect and may be subject to immediate immobilisation:

  • Drivers’ hours’ regulations are breached
  • Roadworthiness issues exist
  • Overloading of cargo
  • The licensed operator has non-payment of a financial deposit requirement

This measure was introduced to address the problems of non-compliance. An active immediate prohibition prevents the vehicle from being driven off when in an unlawful state. Many new prohibitions are associated with the non-payment of the financial penalty deposit requirements, which may lead to an increased level or likelihood of non-compliance.

What happens if a vehicle is immobilised?

Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) officers and police officers have the power to immobilise a vehicle. This may occur if a serious offence has been committed and an imposed ‘immediate prohibition’ has been applied. An immediate prohibition is issued to prevent further risk of road safety. e.g. if the vehicle is un-roadworthy, or a driver is tired. It will mean the driver will no longer be able to continue any journey until all faults or concerns have been resolved and will be disruptive to the operator but it is a vital measure to maintain high standards of road safety and operator compliance.

For more information regarding prohibitions, please select the link below:

Not all vehicles are given an immediate prohibition or will be immobilised. Special circumstances will be considered, such as; 

  • the type of load that is being carried
  • where passengers are being carried on a public service vehicle and who would be inconvenienced if it was immobilised

How a vehicle is immobilised.

To immobilise a vehicle the DVSA and the police fit a steel cable secured by a padlock around the wheels of the vehicle and a warning notice is attached to the vehicle.

The notice advises how the vehicle can be released as below;

  • The DVSA must be satisfied that the causes of the immediate prohibitions have been dealt with
  • An £80 release charge must be paid.

It is an offence to remove the warning notice or interfere with the immobilising device.

The DVSA has produced a guide to vehicle immobilisation with more information, including advice on how to avoid it. To read more about vehicle immobilisation, please select the link below: 

The guide outlines how DVSA can use an immobilisation device to stop a vehicle from being driven with immediate effect and includes guidance on:

  • device removal
  • how to avoid immobilisation
  • immobilisation devices
  • immobilisation offences
  • vehicle removal
  • DVSA’s immobilisation policy