From midnight last Sunday, drivers parking in regulated street spaces or car parks run by councils are now legally entitled to a 10-minute ‘grace period’ to avoid tickets.
The new measure follows on from an announcement by the government last month, which stated that revisions to the law would be made to deliver a “fairer deal” to drivers around the country.
Drivers around the country had long complained about receiving disproportionate fines for overstaying their allocated time by a matter of minutes.
Offers motorists a degree of leeway
While some councils have been more sympathetic than others, the introduction of an official 10-minute grace period gives motorists a degree of leeway when getting back to their parked cars.
The official regulation says that any Penalty Charge Notice issued before the grace period’s expiry will be illegal, unless the vehicle itself is parked unlawfully, for example if a driver hasn’t paid the right fee.
AA president Edmund King said: “At last, we are beginning to see local authority parking enforcement that reflects the realities of modern life.”
However, he noted that the need for an official grace period at all reflects badly on the attitudes of local councils and authorities towards drivers and parking fines in general.
He added: “There wouldn’t have been a need for central government to interfere if all local authorities had exercised the discretionary approach to parking enforcement of old.
“For years, there has been very little ‘grace’ in council parking enforcement, only a culture of milking cash out of residents and visitors who rely on their cars at every opportunity. Parking tickets were supposed to be a deterrent to bad behaviour, not a fines harvest.”
The AA also outlined a range of points that drivers should keep in mind, even with the introduction of the grace period to help stave off unfair or disproportionate penalties.
AA guidelines to help drivers out
Drivers have been urged to keep their parking tickets on them, as in the case a penalty notice is issued in the post, the ticket provides evidence necessary to support the 10-minute rule appeal.
As well as that, the AA has said that drivers should be aware of where they park, as the 10-minute period doesn’t apply to yellow lines, but does apply to short stay free parking, which doesn’t issue tickets.
Finally, drivers have been warned to learn to recognise council parking spaces as the rule also doesn’t apply to car parks privately owned or commercially run. Council-run parks will have notices referring to ‘penalty charges’, while private car parks will refer to a ‘parking charge notice’.
Is the new 10-minute grace period the solution that drivers need, or does it not go far enough? Why not let us know your thoughts by commenting on our Facebook or Twitter pages?