Traffic wardens given tape measures to fine motorists 70 for parking more than 19 inches from the kerb
00:49 GMT, 26 December 2012
Traffic wardens have been issued with tape measures to fine motorists who park more than 19 inches from the kerb.
Drivers face a 70 fine if they breach the diktat – which is enforced on all roads even where no other parking restrictions apply.
Officials claim the new rule targets ‘thoughtless and reckless’ drivers.
But motorists reacted with fury, accusing Gwynedd Council in North Wales of introducing ‘another tax on drivers’.
Careful parking: Traffic wardens will target 'reckless' drivers measuring how far from the kerb they have parked their cars
Officer manager Francis Kileen, 52, from Pwllheli, said: ‘It’s bad enough motorists getting booked for most trivial of reasons.
‘But the thought of wardens now going
round with tape measures and rulers kneeling down in the street and
measuring how far drivers are parked from the kerb simply beggars
‘Why can’t the authority fund betters ways of raising money without annoying the taxpayer’
Sales representative Caroline Anderson, 48, from Porthmadog, said: ‘The new rule is a disgrace.
‘Motorists get a terrible time these
days with rising petrol prices, insurance costs and upkeep and now they
are being targeted again.
‘All this means is we have to get our own tape measures and make sure we parked close enough to the kerb.
‘It’s all very time consuming and very petty.
‘Why can’t drivers be given a break for a change’
The AA said that while parking too far
from the kerb could in some cases be obstructive and dangerous, common
sense must be applied when it came to issuing fines.
A spokesman said: ‘This is one of those rules that can anger motorists but seem perfectly reasonable to local authorities.
‘What people will be worried about is that it is just another tick box for traffic wardens to hand out tickets.’
The motoring group urged the council
to initially issue drivers with a warning before ‘slapping them with a
ticket’. The council said the fine would also be applied to those
parking in front of ‘dropped kerbs’.
Made to measure: Traffic wardens in North Wales will carry a measuring tape to make sure motorists stay withing the lines
Wardens will be able to issue on-the-spot fines to all offending drivers, including disabled motorists who hold blue badges.
Fines will be cut to 35 if paid within 14 days.
A Gwynedd Council spokesman said the
new rules were introduced after officials received complaints about
people parking too far from the kerb. He added: ‘Parking in this way can
restrict visibility for pedestrians wanting to cross the road and so
making our roads dangerous for those on foot.
‘It can also block the flow of traffic and cause congestion, especially where streets are narrow.
‘In the past, the civil parking
enforcement officers could do nothing about the situation but these new
powers will allow them to ticket vehicles who park irresponsibly.’
Councillor Gareth Roberts added: ‘Drivers who block road crossing points
cause great difficulty for people who are visually impaired, wheelchair
users and parents or grandparents pushing buggies.
Fine: Those who fail to park correctly will be fined 70 – but for speedy repentants, it will be cut to 35
‘There have also been cases where the
emergency services and other essential services cannot get through
because drivers have parked over an access to a driveway or too far from
‘These new powers are aimed at
tackling thoughtless motorists who demonstrate this inconsiderate, and
in some cases reckless, behaviour.’
National parking laws which came into
force in 2009 allow councils to issue fines against those who park their
cars more than 19 inches from the kerb, but it is up to individual
authorities to decide whether to enforce this.
The Highway Code tells motorists to park as ‘close as you can’ to the kerb, but does not specify a maximum allowed distance.