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Parking fines increase as a result of new hi-tech equipment

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The DVLA have published the rising number of automatic parking fines issued by private firms after the introduction of hi-tech enforcement techniques.

The hi-tech equipment is electronic and provided by a private company. The system doesn’t give the driver a paper ticket but electronically detects the car and a fine is then posted to the driver, often catching people off guard.

An electronic camera is normally used by supermarkets and car parks to detect when a driver comes and leaves by scanning the vehicle number plate.

The number of fines stood at 272,215 in 2006/07 compared to 1,167,713 in 2010/11 resulting in a rise of 329%. The results signify a dramatic increase in the amount of car parks and supermarkets beginning to use the electronic camera system.

A private firm currently charges £80 a fine which means parking penalties are now costing drivers £93 million each year compared to £21 million in 2007.

Tactics employed by private firms gives no leeway to drivers. They are often accompanied by a ticket machine where drivers have to enter their vehicle registration; the machine then matches the ticket with the registration that has been logged by the camera. These sophisticated checks ensure details are entered correctly, if this is not done so a fine can be issued immediately.

Patrick Troy, Chief Executive of the British Parking Association (BPA), said: “The technology has moved forward and it is less likely for you to see a warden strolling around a car park any more. While there has been a rise in fines issued this way, it means fewer fines are being attached to windscreens.

“There are more out-of-town retailers and they are looking for ways to control their parking spaces so that they can keep their customers numbers turning over.”

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By Amanda Bainbridge