Fleet News

Fleets need to reassess parking policies

Funded by the industry, the BPA has appointed London Councils to deliver the IAS for motorists parking on private land. The appeals service - final details are still be worked out - is similar to that which is currently available to motorists who receive parking tickets on public land.

Currently, if a motorist wants to challenge a parking charge received on private land, they must appeal to the parking company directly and if they still feel that the decision is unfair, they must go to court.

The IAS, from October 1, will review evidence submitted by both the motorist and the operator and determine whether the charge should stand or not. The decision is binding on the operator but not on the motorist who continues to have a right of redress through the courts.

London Councils already runs the Parking and Traffic Appeals Service (PATAS) which hears appeals against penalties issued by local authorities in London, and Transport for London, on public roads in the capital.

Mr King said: “On balance we believe the new system is better, but we need to ensure that IAS safeguards the rights of fleets where there are legitimate concerns.”

However, some enforcement companies continue to operate outside of the scheme and while they are banned from clamping illegally parked vehicles they are still able to display warnings signs and levy large parking charges (fines) on drivers. If motorists refuse to pay then the enforcement company can pursue the penalty through the civil courts if the driver’s name and address is known.

The BVRLA’s view

Almost 200,000 fines issued by private parking enforcement companies relate to vehicles owned or managed by members of the British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association.

Approximately 2.3 million fines per year are levied by private parking enforcement companies and the British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association estimates that 8% (184,000) relate to vehicles on lease or rental to member companies’ customers.

The organisation says that it has lobbied successfully for vehicle leasing and rental companies to be able to have private parking fines transferred by vehicle owners - the registered keepers - to the customers who incur them.

That means a similar practice will be adopted for fines issued by private parking enforcement companies following the October 1 introduction of the Protection of Freedoms Act legislation relating to the banning of wheel clamping on private land as is currently in place relating to a number of other motoring-related fines.

Currently fines issued in relation to local authority parking offences, speeding and other ‘moving’ traffic offences and the use of bus lanes outside of London are all transferable from the registered vehicle keeper (the rental or leasing company) to customers.

Additionally, fines relating to bus lane use in London are transferable if they relate to a vehicle agreement in place for more than six months (leasing) and fines linked to the London congestion charge are also transferable if they relate to a vehicle agreement in place for less than six month (rental).

Transferable means that leasing and rental companies are able to provide the authorities with driver details so fine payment can be pursued directly. In non-transferable cases, fines will typically be paid by the leasing or rental company as the registered keeper of the vehicle and then recharged to the customer/driver.

In relation to the transfer of parking changes/fines imposed by private parking enforcement companies, a BVRLA spokesman said: “We are now working with the British Parking Association to ensure that customers’ details can be passed to private parking firms in a simple way, without the need for complex evidential requirements such as copies of rental and lease agreements.”

A spokesman for Lex Autolease, Britain’s largest contract hire and leasing company, said currently it received parking charge/fine notices from private parking enforcement companies as vehicle ownership could be identified via its name appearing on the registration plate.

A spokesman said: “On receipt of a letter we forward it to the driver or the fleet manager - depending on status of the vehicle agreement - and expect them to follow it up. If they don’t then we continue to receive letters from the enforcement company. There is nothing more that we can do because we are not allowed to divulge a driver’s details in relation to private parking like we can in relation to local authority parking fines.

“As to our policy following introduction of the Protection of Freedoms Act we are awaiting guidance from the BVRLA.”

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