Holders of commercial vehicle insurance policies are amongst the thousands of motorists successfully appealing against parking fines in Northern Ireland.
Figures show almost 60% of motorists who protest against a parking fine in the Province are successful and now questions are being asked in the Northern Ireland Assembly as to why traffic wardens appear to be handing out so many disputable parking tickets. Van drivers, business owners and local people heading into town to go shopping are all suffering at the hands of the zealous wardens but there are fears that the ticketing policy is driving the Province into an economic downturn. The proliferation of tickets and subsequent appeals has certainly led to arguments in Stormont with one Minister saying the policy was driving business away from the town and city centres. While another said that the successful appeals prove the system works and that anyone who has been falsely ticketed is not losing out financially.
The bare facts show that in the last 12 months parking wardens handed out just over 32,000 tickets for offences such as parking on yellow lines, parking in disabled spaces and over staying the allotted time where there is on street parking. Approximately 4000 motorists appealed against the fines with well over 2000 being successful. It appears that traffic wardens have been too quick to ticket people over staying their welcome at on-street parking venues.
Glyn Roberts from the Northern Ireland Retail Trade Association says it is time that Ministers met with local business men to iron out the problems. He explained: “The overall system does need to be looked at. At the moment there are different regimes in different towns. For the last six months we have been hearing from traders in many towns that traffic wardens seem to be on a ‘get tough’ policy.”
He then went on to add: “In particular, they do not seem to be adhering to the 10-minute grace period, the time normally allowed after a ticket has run out, and I would say that is the basis on which a lot of these appeals are being allowed.”