Fleets could find the number of parking tickets they receive climbing as a result of new laws that allow local authorities to penalise drivers remotely.
The new rules, which come into force on March 31 as part of the Road Traffic Management Act, are intended to make it easier for parking wardens to issue tickets, while also graduating the fines depending on the severity of the offence.
Drivers will now be fined as a result of CCTV evidence, and will not even have to have a ticket placed on their car.
Transport minister Rosie Winterton said this is being introduced as a safety measure as some drivers speed off before the warden has a chance to issue the ticket, consequently endangering other road users and pedestrians.
From March 31, the time limit for paying for tickets by post will also increase from 14 days to 21.
For fleets, the changes to the laws could bring mixed results.
For delivery and utility firms which incur high levels of parking tickets, fleet managers are waiting to see whether the number of tickets will rise, or whether the costs will actually drop as they are penalised for less serious offences.
The vast majority of London-based parking offences for utility fleets come from parking in residential bays or overstaying the paid time, where the fine will drop by £10.
Parking on double yellow lines will be in the higher category.
However, the issue of remote tickets could cause problems, not least because a driver may not know he has committed an offence until much later when it is too late to gather evidence for an appeal.
ACFO spokesman Stewart Whyte said: “There is a potential for dispute with the automatic system.
“A ticket stuck to the window is always a safeguard. It is worrying that we are now relying on computers to tell us whether we’ve committed an offence.”
ACFO’s advice is simple: remind drivers to be especially wary, and be more aware of situations where they might be committing an offence.
As parking tickets sent to leasing companies are sent back to the local authorities to be transferred to the driver, the British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association (BVRLA) does not expect to see any major problems with the new rules for its members, except if the number of tickets increases.
“If the amount of administration needed in dealing with tickets rises, then costs could increase,” head of communications Robin Mackonochie said.
- Band A: Higher: £70, lower: £50 (previously £60 for all contraventions)
- Band B: Higher: £60, lower: £40 (previously £50 for all contraventions).
- Band A: Higher: £120, lower: £80 (previously £100)
- Band B: Higher: £100, lower: £60 (previously £80)
- Band C: Higher: £80, lower: £40 (previously £60).