Couriers beware! Parking fines on the increase

Our latest article follows a recent report, study and statistics which show that parking fines are on the rise. The problem with a job like a courier or delivery driver, is that they are on the road far more than the average car or van user. This makes couriers at greater risk of encountering parking fines. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at what this recent study says, along with some tips to avoid getting caught out – information that can apply to all, not just couriers.

Despite fewer cars on the road in 2020 and 2021 due to the pandemic, more parking fines were handed out. This immediately sets alarm bells ringing and the recent report shows that more than 22,000 parking tickets a day were handed out in 2021! A good proportion of these were from private firms. At the moment, £100 is the maximum that can be charged for a parking fine. Private companies have to get car keepers details from the DVLA, but this is surprisingly very easy to do and costs as little as £2.50 per request. The report found that most people being fined were those that did not intend to break the rules. Couriers stopping momentarily to drop off a parcel in an apartment block, was cited as one such strong unfair example of drivers being targeted and fined.

What is the problem for couriers?

Whilst fines are £100 maximum, most companies tend to set their rates at the higher end of the scale because they know its legal and they think it will act as a greater deterrent. The problem for couriers is that they are stopping momentarily several (sometimes vast) times a day to drop off parcels. Parking a mile away in these instances is unreasonable and impractical, so couriers do not have a lot of choice. On an unlucky day by these parking fine rules, courier and delivery drivers can wrack up hundreds of pounds in fines and debts in a matter of hours – seemingly through doing little more than just their job. This is very unfair. Whilst rules are rules, they always need to have a good reasoning behind them for them to be respected and abided by – the same is true of the law many would argue. That good reasoning however does not extend in this example and many couriers are forced to take unfair and unnecessary risk in the normal course of their work.

The good news is that the government are in the process of undertaking reform in this area to make things clearer and fairer for drivers. This would include a 10-minute grace period, which would in effect, completely eradicate this problem for courier and delivery drivers who are just dropping off parcels. The only problem is that this review hasn’t been quick in implementation, and we can only hope that it comes into practice soon.

What should couriers and drivers do to avoid parking fines?

Keeping an eye on signage is the one critical thing. Before you park up and get out, have a good look round to see any boards or notices warning of parking restrictions. These must be displayed by law in order for firms to be able to fine you. If you get fined and you can prove the absence of notices, you will win.

Aside from that, look at the general road signage and consult the highway code if necessary, which gives more information. A lot of parking restrictions allow flexibility for ‘loading and unloading’ (which is different to parking and going to the shops or cinema! Generally, on single or double yellow lines for example, there is a maximum of 40 minutes for loading and unloading allowed, but on a single red line it must be outside the hours of 7am to 7pm. The rules can be complicated, confusing, and subject to caveats, so you must familiarise yourself with them.

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