It was 9:30am on a crisp, Thursday morning. I had dropped the boy at school and was on my way to my Husband’s work to drop off the packed lunch he’d forgotten. The traffic was good, I had Rhianna on the stereo and was mentally going through what I needed to accomplish that day.
I heard the sirens from a distance. I was at the traffic lights at the time and they’d just turned green so I was looking all around to see which direction the sirens were coming from. The police car whizzed past me and I set off on my way. As I turned the corner, I saw the police car in the layby, and he pulled out behind me as I went past. I thought nothing of it, why would I?
We exited the roundabout and came up the hill, he put his lights on and I could see in the mirror he was gesturing for me to take the next turning. What the actual fuck? I hadn’t done anything wrong, I was within the speed limit, all the lights and indicators were working, I’m a new driver so I’m a bit anal about these things so had no idea why I’d been pulled.
My hands were shaking as I handed over my documents, and he asked me to sit in the back of his car whilst he performed the necessary checks. He informs me that my car was reported as having no valid insurance. I figured this was a misunderstanding, as the insurance certificate I had with me stated it expires April ’18.
A quick phone call to the insurer clarified that the insurance had not been paid since July of 2017.
Now, let me explain the situation fully.
The car belongs to my Mother. It’s her car, in her name, she organised all the necessary insurance and tax, and at no time had she mentioned anything to me about there being a problem. I was just borrowing the car, as a named driver, until we leave the UK to go travelling.
So as I sat there, I was starting to realise how serious this was. Not only had I been pulled over by the Police, had my car impounded, been given 6 points on my licence and a £300 fine, but I was also now without a car, and with a child who goes to a school that’s near on impossible to get to without transport.
As shit as all that is, the worst of it came when I started to think about what the consequences could have been if I’d had an accident whilst uninsured. Could I have been arrested? I shudder to think.
Having left poor Sydney in the street to be taken away to the clink, I set off to deliver the packed lunch. Thankfully a friend from school took me over to pick the boy up later that day.
Over the next 2 days we made several trips to the Police station, whilst also making several discoveries, such as the car not having any valid road tax, and also having no log book or even being registered in my Mum’s name.
It felt like at every turn I was experiencing a roadblock. The insurance cost me a fortune thanks to the conviction, and it had to go in my name because the old policy, in Mum’s name, had been voided by the insurance company. The receptionist at the Police station spoke to us like dirt, asking for things I apparently, judging by her tone, should have known about. I think it was evident I knew very little. Each time we were turned away for not having the right paperwork, was another day of getting charged for being in the impound.
We finally got a break when meeting a different lady at the Police station, who had some empathy and was not such a jobsworth. She told us exactly what we needed to do and we arrived back to see her with everything in order. She signed the release form and off we went to pick up the car.
Obviously the impound isn’t open on weekends. Who was I to think that the last hurdle would go smoothly.
So I head home again to a disappointed boy who just wants Sydney home. Over the weekend I do a bit of research and discover that, as I’ve been driving for less than 2 years, the liklihood is that my licence will be revoked.
Monday arrives and I book a taxi to get the boy to school. That’s another £14 to add to the bill, but he’s at school so that’s one less thing to worry about. With 1 bus an hour servicing the airport next to the school, I settle down with a coffee to wait. 3 buses later, I make it to the impound, pay the £210 charge to get the car, only to see her pushed around to the gate because she won’t start.
Of course she won’t start. The guy tells me it’s not his problem so he dumps it out on the double yellows for me. Thankfully, as I was now in charge of the insurance, I’d added roadside recovery, so I called the RAC and they arrived promptly. The battery had been flooded (or something), and Mr RAC was furious about me being dumped on the street.
I didn’t care. For now, Sydney was purring and I was outta there.
So, let’s recap.
A mercy trip to deliver sandwhiches to my husband ended up costing me in the region of £1000 AND my driving licence. And with most of our money tied up in investments, that £1k was set aside to pay for our exit from the UK.
The flights to Sweden
The travel insurance
The health insurance
Now I am just waiting for formal notification from DVLA as to my exact punishment. I will appeal if I lose my licence, but that doesn’t really help in the short term.
So, if there are any legal beagles reading this who can offer some free advice as to whether I have a leg to stand on in appealling the revokation of my licence, I would be grateful for any help. I’m not so fussed about the points and fine, though they are both a punch in the guts. It’s the licence. I need the licence desperately. If I can keep that, I’ll take the rest on the chin.