Almost a third of Birmingham drivers handed parking fines escaped paying a penny, new figures have revealed.
More than 31 per cent of appeals over on-street tickets were accepted by the city council between January and October last year.
But the chances of overturning a fine varied wildly from council to council, according to the data.
The data emerged after on-street parking charges went up in Birmingham city centre from April 1 in a bid to raise an extra £500,000 for the council’s coffers.
Across England, just over a third – 38 per cent – of initial driver challenges to on-street parking fines were successful.
So, how do you get off?
Can you ask them nicely not to fine you? Can you just jump in and drive off before they stick it on?
The RAC has issued some advice on how best to deal with a traffic warden and your rights if you encounter one, Hull Daily Mail reports.
What is a traffic warden?
Wardens are not police officers and are employed by the local council.
Their responsibilities include: Making sure parking regulations are being followed and issuing penalty charge notices (PCNs, or fines) when they are required.
Although they have limited powers, they often work closely with the police and have been known to report incidents such as antisocial behaviour or suspicious vehicles.
Can I drive off before a warden puts a ticket on my windscreen?
If a warden has issued a PCN but not attached it, the council can just request the car’s details from the DVLA and post the fine to you, as they only need your vehicle’s registration number.
Does a warden have to observe my vehicle for a period of time first?
No, they don’t. Many offences are eligible for an instant fine – like parking on zig-zag lines outside of a school.
However, some stopping on double yellow lines may need a short observation period to prove that, for example, passengers were being dropped off or goods weren’t being unloaded.
Is there a “parking grace period” wardens should honour?
Traffic wardens must give motorists up to ten minutes after their parking ticket expires.
This applies to both council car parks and private car parks.
Do wardens have ‘”targets?”
No, they don’t.
Private companies, however, may do for their wardens.
The British Parking Association code of practice states “the practice of offering financial incentives relating to the quantity of parking charge notices in new and existing employee contracts is prohibited” but firms don’t have to be registered with the association.
Independent Parking Committee registered operators are told they “may use incentive schemes to motivate your staff and improve productivity” although, they shouldn’t focus solely on the number of tickets.
I have a blue badge, can I still be fined?
Although, blue badge holders do have more rights than other motorists, that still doesn’t mean they can park anywhere.
Common sense is required. Don’t leave your car if it may cause an obstruction to other road users, like near a junction or on a busy road. Only park on single or double yellow lines for the allowed three hours.
Blue badge holders do have to pay to park in private car parks, unless there are signs saying otherwise.
You should always check the rules before leaving your vehicle.
A traffic warden has the power to ask a blue badge holder to move their car, even if no rules have been broken.
Can a warden cancel a fine?
According to RAC, this isn’t even worth trying.
Individuals (parking wardens) have so little power to cancel a fine, and they most likely won’t want to debate it kerbside either.
If you want to appeal against the fine, you should do so with your local council.
If you plan to go down the appeal route, don’t pay the fine as this is an automatic admission of guilt and you are unlikely to get the money back.
You should contact the council within 14 days and outline why you feel the fine isn’t justified.
Use pictures of where the car was parked alongside any signs in the area that will support your appeal.
I was parked on private land when I got a parking ticket. Can I just ignore it?
Obviously, the rules are very different when parking on private land.
Instead of a PCN, you will be given a parking charge notice from a private firm which is basically an invoice for breaching a contract.
The details of this contract will be signposted in the car park.
If you refuse to pay, then the company you have to take you through the civil courts to force you to pay.
This is costly and time-consuming, so they may not pursue the claim-but if they do you could end up with a bigger fine which will then include court costs.
The RAC state that if you brake the rules it is often easier and much cheaper just to pay it than try and avoid it.