The government has heard the cries of woe coming from the public complaining that the parking regulations and appeals procedures across the country are too inconsistent, unfair and non transparent.
Part 6 of the Traffic Management (TMA) Act 2004 titled "Civil enforcement of traffic contraventions" will unify parking regulations across the UK from 31st March 2008.
The main features of the Act aimed at making thing fairer for motorists are:
- Parking Attendants (civil enforcement officers) must have clear evidence that a vehicle is parked illegally before issuing a parking ticket.
- Councils will be encouraged to publish and promote the details of their policies including fine levels. Click here to find your local authority’s parking information.
- Councils will also be required to consult drivers and local businesses about the effectiveness of their parking enforcement policies.
- Extended discount payment period to for Penalty Charge Notices (PCNs) issued when detected by a camera.
- More power for appeals tribunal to overturn the council’s decision and tribunal will be made less difficult to attend therefore taking up less of the motorists time.
A Civil Enforcement Officer can issue a PCN by either:
- Attaching it to your windscreen
- By giving it to the driver
It is usually printed from their handheld computer but can also be hand written. They will also record information such as vehicle information, location, their own actions, conversations with the driver and they may take photographs.
Click here for information about appealing against a Penalty Charge Notice (PCN) issued by a Civil Enforcement Officer (CEO)
Councils can issue a PCN by post to the registered owner if:
- It has photographic or CCTV evidence that a penalty is payable. This includes parking and moving traffic violations, which include offences such as driving through a red light.
- If a civil enforcement officer was prevented from issuing a PCN
- If a civil enforcement officer had begun to write up a PCN but the vehicle was driven away before they could issue it.
The PCN will be sent to the registered keeper of the vehicle as identified by the DVLA database of all registered cars in the UK. The owner of a vehicle is legally responsible for paying the fine.
Click here for information about appealing against a Penalty Charge Notice (PCN) issued by Post
Cameras: Enforcement is being made easier for councils by making use of video cameras. The fact that civil enforcement officers must have clear evidence that a vehicle is parked illegally, coupled with their new power to issue tickets electronically when they do not have time to issue the physical ticket, means that you will see many more video cameras attached to their hats (caps). An added benefit of these cameras is that they will act as a deterrent to, and provide evidence of, irate motorists who verbally or physically abuse traffic attendants.
CCTV: Many UK high streets have CCTV camera networks that monitor bus lanes and anti social behaviour. These cameras will now be able to be used for issuing PCNs (Penalty Charge Notices) to owners of vehicles parked illegally as well as providing evidence of 'moving traffic violations'. An example of a ‘moving traffic violation’ is a vehicle that turns right at a junction where no right turn is allowed.
CCTV cameras will use number plate recognition software linked to the DVLA’s database of all the registered vehicles in the UK.
Posted PCNs: If a vehicle is driven away before the Notice is issued, the PCN may be posted to the registered keeper of the vehicle. Some motorists have expressed a concern that parking attendants (civil enforcement officers,) will be able to write down your number plate from a long way off and issue a PCN without you knowing. Ms Sheppard, chief adjudicator of the new Traffic Penalty Tribunal, said that wardens would be expected to have a photograph of the tax disc or the disc number to prove that they had not been hiding up the street. They would also be required to give a description of the driver to prove that they were close to the vehicle.