One In Three Motorists Fined Every Year

New figures spark concerns that drivers are being used as council 'cash cows'

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Figures revealed this week show that one in every three drivers is fined annually. According to the Ministry of Justice Motoring Offences and Breath Test Bulletin almost £800million was collected in fines last year after parking wardens and enforcement cameras caught more than 9.8 million drivers in breach of traffic regulations.

TaxPayers' Alliance Matthew Elliott believes that local authorities are increasingly abusing the fines and charges system as a means of raising revenue. "This is an extra council tax dressed up as a law and order measure.” He said "It's time councils realised that squeezing the public for all the money they can is not a solution to their financial problems - they need to start making better use of the money they already have."

The figures for parking fines are likely to increase even further this year after the introduction of the new regulations that came into practice at the end of March. The main changes incldue:

  • Two levels of penalty – a 'lesser offence' for example, overstaying briefly at a parking meter, or a 'serious offence' for example, parking on a double yellow line. The penalty amounts charged are different.
  • A penalty notice can now be served by post if the enforcement officer has started, but not finished, issuing it.
  • Penalties can be issued for parking alongside 'dropped kerbs' or for 'double' parking – being half a metre out from the kerb.
  • The 50% discount period should be extended to 28 days if an informal representation is unsuccessful.
  • Parking adjudicators have power to 'send cases back' to local authorities.
  • Wheel clamping reserved largely for persistent offenders. If it is used in other circumstances, clamping cannot take place for 30 minutes after the penalty is incurred.
  • Local authorities must produce annual transparent reports on their parking activities.

May 1, 2008