Sunday, August 24, 2008

It's a fine time for everyone ...except the motorist

The penny is starting to drop ... everyone connected with the 'parking industry' is financially dependent on the number of tickets issued.

Mike Waters writes below ...

AS if traffic wardens didn’t already have a bad enough reputation, you may have heard that the Department for Transport admitted that at least 80 councils in England and Wales had issued parking tickets that did not comply with regulations.
Motors Merseyside
Aug 11 2008
Mike Waters

This admission is untimely for the government having recently updated parking laws to make the ticketing system in England fairer.

The plan is that the changes will remove inconsistency and reduce confusion for motorists. This rebalancing has created two different levels of fine, with reduced punishment for lesser offences, so the fine for offences deemed as minor is falling, while punishment for major offences will increase.

The tickets in question were judged to be invalid because of incorrect road markings, poor signage and other similar issues. A particularly aggravating example involved tickets which were issued to cars which overran marked bays, despite these bays being too narrow.

Tickets were also issued without the correct documentation, or without a date of the claimed offence, which is contrary to guidelines. It is thought that many motorists may have already paid the fines unnecessarily, and many more may have the right to appeal tickets.

This enforces the point that although you should never park in restricted areas or for longer than they are allocated, parking adjudicators depend on a revenue stream from tickets so can not be relied on to be impartial. It is also telling that only a small number of people in England challenge fines, even when they have a strong case, and of those that do appeal the success rate is reasonably high.

With changes to the law and the increased use of CCTV enforcement, drivers will need to keep their wits about them to avoid legal fines, let alone bogus ones. Under the new system there is a real chance that drivers will be caught without even realising it, only to receive a ticket issued by post weeks after the incident.

Everyone makes mistakes, whatever line of work you operate in and traffic wardens are no different so the advice is, think carefully about where you park and do everything that you can not to get a ticket in the first place.

But if you do get caught and genuinely feel that the ticket is unjust don’t just write it off as you may have a compelling case for appeal.

Mike Waters is head of market analysis at Arval, Europe’s leading fleet and fuel management company.

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