I can proudly proclaim that I have never been fined for speeding, illegal parking or even for using a bus lane in my car.
It has been a close call a few times and a couple of times I genuinely expected to get a letter through the door after seeing a speed camera flash at me. I also once got stopped by some eagle eyed cops who had spotted that one of my lights was on the blink.
The reason I mention my unblemished record of law abiding driving (well, of not getting caught following my relatively few indiscretions at least) is because I can only imagine the pleasure felt by over 34,000 drivers just now.
These people were fined by Hertfordshire Council for illegally using a bus lane in Hemel Hempstead. The sign advising motorists of the bus lane restriction was in Moor End Road and the Traffic Penalty Tribunal decided that it had been unlawfully placed there.
Over A Million Quid in Refunds
I am not quite sure what the bit about unlawful placement really means if I am being honest but the result is that the council will return about £1.3 million to drivers who have been unfairly charged for infringing the restrictions. They will also stop proceedings against anyone who has already been issued with a notice but hasn’t yet coughed up the cash.
A spokesman for the council says that there was no legal obligation to return the money but that it was “morally right” for them to do so. Anyone who has been fined for this already doesn’t need to do anything, as Hertfordshire Council will be writing to all of the affected motorists in the next few months to start the repayment process.
Any money which can’t be returned to the driver for any reason will be given to charity.