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Simple Christmas driving mistake motorists make

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MOTORISTS could be fined £2,500 for making this simple driving mistake over the festive season.

Cops have warned that drivers could be forced to fork out the hefty sum if they take money for giving friends a lift in the car.

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You can be fined for charging mates for a liftCredit: Getty

Giving your friends or family a lift can be a great way to travel in a more environmentally-friendly way and to share the costs of petrol.

There are even car sharing platforms setup for people to offer and arrange lifts such has Liftshare and BlaBlaCar.

But you do risk invalidating your insurance or breaking the law if you take too much money for providing a lift.

There are even laws governing car sharing.

The Public Passenger Vehicle Act 1981 states that passenger contributions should be arranged before travel and should not exceed the running costs, including wear and depreciation, of the vehicle for the trip.

That typically means you can only charge for petrol and are not allowed to make a profit from providing lifts.

A Dorset Police spokesperson told the Bournemouth Echo that illegal lift sharing services could lead to prosecution.

They said: “We are aware of several Facebook groups which have been created in order to share lifts in and around the Bournemouth and Poole area.

“When getting into a vehicle with an unlicensed and unvetted stranger, you have no knowledge of their background and risk your own personal safety.

“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 or prosecution resulting in a fine, points on your licence or disqualification from driving.”

According to experts, insurers will allow drivers to take certain payments to cover private lifts, but they must still not profit from them.

Neil Greig, Poilicy and Research Director at IAM RoadSmart, said: “The government wants to encourage car sharing to reduce congestion so there are agreements in place with all car insurance companies that will allow you to take expenses from car share friends without invalidating your cover.

“However, if you over charge them or start to do it for profit, your insurance may be invalid. You may also be breaking local regulations set by your council who licence private hire cars.

“If you plan to car share always check with your car insurance company first and be transparent about what you plan to do and how often it may happen.

“Remember, not all your workmates may be safe drivers so it’s always worth checking out their driving before getting into a car share arrangement.”

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