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A new bill to regulate private parking has been backed by 93% of drivers, according to data released by the RAC. It’s not surprising that the bill has such a display of support, with two thirds of drivers claiming private parking firms are too aggressive when collecting fines. A further 84% state that they think the fines issued don’t reflect the offence.

The Daily Mirror reported figures from the RAC that shows millions of parking tickets are actually illegal and drivers are in their right to fight for a refund. Professor Stephen Glaister, RAC Foundation director, comments: “We estimate that in 2013 alone drivers might have been overcharged by some £100 million.”

Some cities issued half a million parking penalties in the last three years, with Brits paying out £94 million a year as of 2017. According to UK Carline, Brent, Croydon and Bristol were the cities that drivers were most likely to be hit with a parking fine. All three cities had issues more than 250,000 fines in 2016. Brent in particular soared ahead of other cities across the UK, issuing 537,128 fines across the three-year period. The top ten councils with the highest number of issued parking fines is as follows:

Rank

City

No. parking fines issued
(over three years)

1

Brent

537,128

2

Croydon

339,121

3

Bristol

267,913

4

Ealing

236,733

5

Newcastle

221,659

6

Enfield

189,619

7

Sheffield

155,552

8

Leicester

147,358

9

Bradford

141,692

10

Plymouth

121,429

 

Penalty charge notices totalled at 2,752,900 over three years, with 941,888 issued in just 2016. If each penalty was charged at the maximum fine of £100 per offence, these penalty charges could be costing motorists an astonishing £275,290,000 per year! And further figures from the RAC suggest these figures continued to rise in the month running up to Christmas 2017 – with figures signifying there was a 10% increase in the number of tickets issued when compared to 2016’s figures, with around 17,137 tickets issued every day. Furthermore, ParkingEye Ltd was found to have requested the largest amount of data from the DVLA, with more than 533,000 records obtained in the most recent quarter, at a cost of £2.50 a record.

Steve Gooding, RAC Foundation director, commented on the data as revealing private parking firms to be “looking to maximise their profits from drivers out and about doing their festive shopping”. An opinion that seems fair to dish out, considering 72% of drivers say that parking terms and conditions notices are often hard to read or hidden in car parks – with a further 69% claiming parking charges were too high.

UK Carline revealed figured that show an apparent pattern for the most likely days a parking penalty will be issued. Their research revealed Saturday was the day most drivers were issued with a parking fine, whilst Sunday was the least likely. Figures show that just 235,584 tickets were issued on Sundays – a figure which still looks to be high but is significantly lower than the 430,035 tickets that were issued on Saturdays over the three-year period. Are drivers better behaved on Sundays? Or are parking firms more lenient?

No driver wants to be faced with a sudden parking charge. The RAC suggests that there are a number of areas which need to be addressed within the newly proposed bill in order for it to be a wide success, shifting driver attitudes towards a more positive consumer confidence in private parking firms.

Nicholas Lyes, a road policy spokesman for the RAC, says: “Importantly, this bill will facilitate a set of national guidelines which we hope will make the appeals’ process simpler, tighten access to the DVLA database and bring higher standards to a sector which clearly has a poor reputation among motorists.”

Firms need to work on their reputation, which is held in poor regard by 81% of drivers.

There was a spark of hope in January 2018 that parking fines would be addressed. The proposed Parking (Code of Practice) Bill from former Conservative minister, Sir Greg Knight, was expected to be heard by the House of Commons for a second time. The proposed new code of practice hoped to ensure fair treatment of motorists and parking firms alike – a practice that is clearly needed following data that shows ticketing has reached epidemic proportions. The RAC were pleased that the code of practice would mean that firms which did not comply with the new code would be blocked from accessing motorist’ information via the DVLA.

With that said, the RAC warns that local councils and authorities could fall into the ‘war against motorists’ as coined by a Conservative MP. Permits and car parking expected to rocket by 45% in certain areas across the UK. This includes with the introduction of Sunday parking charges. With councils already racking up a huge £819 million in parking fines, fees and permits during 2016/17, how much could they be looking at making if charges increase by 45%? Motorists could be in for a shock – though also giving them more reason to fight back and support a bill to regulate private parking.

The rising cost of fines and parking penalties clearly needs to be addressed by the government. Could we see the right changes being made in the near future? For motorists’ sake, let’s hope so.

This article was brought to you by Audi dealership, Vindis Group.

Sources

https://www.mirror.co.uk/money/worst-places-parking-fines-england-10562783

https://www.mirror.co.uk/money/millions-parking-tickets-illegal—5199090

https://www.rac.co.uk/drive/news/motoring-news/inconceivable-number-of-drivers-hit-by-private-parking-fines/

https://www.rac.co.uk/drive/news/motoring-news/93-of-drivers-back-bill-to-regulate-private-parking/

https://www.express.co.uk/life-style/cars/811013/parking-fines-UK-hotspots-map-charge-notice

https://www.aol.co.uk/money/2017/06/20/the-uks-biggest-ever-parking-fines/

https://www.rac.co.uk/drive/news/motoring-news/plans-for-45-increased-parking-charges-in-england/

 

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