Parking fines are rising to record levels as private companies hand out 30,000 every day

Parking fines are rising to record levels as private companies hand out 30,000 every day

Private parking companies have handed out 50 percent more tickets than last year, according to calls for a crackdown on the “cowboy” industry.

British motorists now receive an average of nearly 30,000 fines a day, according to an analysis of data from the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA).

The number of fines imposed rose from 1.8 million between April and June last year to a record 2.7 million in the same period this year after a major government crackdown to “control cowboy private parking companies” was withdrawn.

The RAC Foundation, a car research charity, claimed it is “unimaginable” that so many motorists deliberately violate parking rules.

The private parking companies have now been accused of “entrapment” through the use of misleading and confusing signage, aggressive collection and unreasonable fees.

RAC Foundation director Steve Gooding said the increase in ticket numbers could be attributed to the “booming” sector of private car park management, adding that it is “big business that is attracting more and more new entrants”.

‘Significant gains’

He said: “The appeal can only be one thing: the chance to make significant gains before the government implements changes, which now seem delayed, to level the playing field.”

The companies operate in private areas such as supermarkets, shopping centres, leisure facilities, NHS Trusts and motorway service areas. Each ticket can cost drivers up to £100.

Mr Gooding added: “It remains inconceivable that millions of motorists would head out each year to buy these tickets of up to £100 each, especially when household budgets are so tight. These latest data are a sign of a system that is broken .”

Brian Gregory, the policy director for the Alliance of British Drivers lobby group, told The Telegraph: “The motorist is the main target because almost all offences, in fact, are a victimless crime.

“The only victim is the person who committed it, because the signage puts them in a situation where they usually inadvertently break the regulations.

“The more confusing, the more inaccurate, the worse marked and aligned you can make these road signs, the easier it is to trap people.”

‘Regime charged against road users’

While the biggest decline in tickets in 2020 was seen as a result of the pandemic, with a total of 0.5 million being distributed, the record number handed out this year has been attributed to “revenue boosting”.

Mr Gregory added: “The numbers speak for themselves… They are interested in generating revenue, it is symptomatic of a regime that is really against road users making their lives miserable and getting as much money out of it as possible. to deserve.”

The record number of fines comes after the government’s long-awaited code of practice – aimed at banning some of the worst practices in the private parking industry to protect drivers – was withdrawn following legal action by parking companies.

The code of conduct, due to come into effect across Britain by the end of next year, stated that the limit on tickets for some parking offenses should be halved to £50.

‘Unacceptable practices’

The withdrawal pending a cost review could lead to further delays in its implementation.

The size of parking fines this year was revealed in figures showing how often private parking companies obtain data from the DVLA to pursue car owners for alleged violations.

The DVLA charges private companies £2.50 per record, but insists it makes no money from the process and only recoups its costs.

A spokeswoman for the Department for Leveling Up, Housing and Communities said: “We recognize that a small number of cowboy companies have engaged in unacceptable practices.

“We will implement our Code of Practice Private Parking as soon as possible to address this issue and protect motorists.”

About 176 parking management companies requested data from the vehicle owner between April and June, up from 151 in the previous 12 months.

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