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1 in 5 Brits admit they would hit and run in a car park

Hit and run parking

Almost one in five British motorists would not leave their contact details if they dented another car when parking, according to a study by YourParkingSpace.co.uk.

Under the Road Traffic Act 1988, drivers have a duty to stop and to provide information if damage is caused to another vehicle or to someone else’s property. In some cases, motorists must produce their insurance certificate and/or report the incident to the police.

Section 170 is very clear on the subject:

The driver of the mechanically propelled vehicle must stop and, if required to do so by any person having reasonable grounds for so requiring, give his name and address and also the name and address of the owner and the identification marks of the vehicle.

A motorist is guilty of an offence if they fail to comply with the legislation.

The research also found that one in ten motorists have actually dented another car when parking, and that a third of British motorists have witnessed a driver denting another vehicle.

Flouting motoring etiquette

Man inspecting car park damage

Harrison Woods, YourParkingSpace managing director, said: “It would seem there are a significant number of motorists prepared to flout motoring etiquette by not leaving their contact details if they hit another car when parking and had not been spotted.

“Not only is this a motoring offence, it is also very inconvenient for the other motorist who, through no fault of their own, could have to pay to fix the damage to their vehicle.”

Harrison added: “The UK’s roads must be littered with dented cars given the results from our survey, meaning many millions of motorists need to practice their parking skills.

“The good news is that the majority would intervene if they saw a car being dented, putting those people to shame who would not leave their contact details if they had not been seen.”

Government to clamp down on rogue parking firms

Parking regulations Government parking act 2019

The Parking Act 2019 is a government initiative to better regulate the private parking industry. It has now received Royal Assent and passed into law.

As well as establishing a new single code of practice to ensure easier-to-understand regulations when it comes to private parking, the act should better enable motorists to challenge unfair tickets.

A new independent appeals service has been established. If private firms break its to-be-determined code of practice, they could lose their powers to obtain information from the government, in order to send out fines.

The act follows work the government has already done to curb private parking firms’ powers, including bans on clamping, towing and ‘over-zealous parking enforcement by councils and parking wardens’.

Industry stakeholders and motoring groups, including the AA and the RAC, will collaborate with the government in the coming months to establish and ratify the code of practice.

Parking regulations Government parking act 2019

“Motorists will warmly welcome this new Act,” said Nicholas Lyes, head of roads policy at the RAC.

“For too long, some unscrupulous private parking operators have made drivers’ lives a misery with some questionable practices, which sent levels of trust in the sector plummeting.

“The code will create more consistent standards across the board, which should eliminate dubious practices and create a single, independent appeals process.

“The RAC has long called for changes to the way the private parking sector is regulated and this new code will undoubtedly make the lives of drivers easier.”

Pre-booked parking can save 132 tonnes of CO2 per year

pre-booked parking

New research has revealed the potential CO2 savings motorists could make by using pre-booked parking services rather than embarking on the usual car park mooch for a suitable bay.

As much as 132 tonnes of CO2 were saved by the customers of YourParkingSpace.co.uk. That’s an amount equivalent to burning 53 tonnes of coal.

In addition to the CO2 savings, as much as 46,000 grams of nitrogen oxides (read, the dieselgate McGuffin) was saved by those who made a beeline for pre-booked spots. Both CO2 and NOx can be extremely harmful to both our health and the environment.

Such savings are a major advance and a great plus in the argument for pre-booked parking.

‘Circling the block’

“Changing attitudes towards how motorists drive and park can help put an end to the environmentally damaging practice of circling the block in the hope of finding an available parking space,” said Harrison Woods, managing director at YourParkingSpace.co.uk.

“Our research is a stark reminder of how much air pollution can be avoided – some 132 tonnes of carbon dioxide in one year alone by YourParkingSpace.co.uk customers – simply by driving straight to a pre-booked parking space.”

“As well as having an environmental advantage, parking in a pre-booked space also has a positive financial impact for local homeowners who provide many of these spaces, while providing cheaper parking for needy motorists.”

pre-booked parking CO2

The service has something for those who have already ditched smoggy internal combustion, too. It’s teaming up with Zap-Map.com to make parking spaces with charging facilities available to pre-book.

Dude, where's my parked car

Two-thirds of motorists have a ‘Dude, Where’s My Car?’ moment

Dude, where's my parked car

You’ll lose many things over the Christmas period – your temper, the wrapping paper, the cranberry sauce, the tip for the postman, your mother-in-law. Maybe the latter is just wishful thinking…

But the chances are you won’t lose your car. Not unless you’re one of the 2,000 motorists who took part in a study by Nissan. Yes, it’s that most wonderful time of the year when the press offices have switched to auto-drive and are rolling out news items loaded with stats for all to enjoy endure.

Nissan claims that around two-thirds of us have forgotten whey we parked our car. That’s 65.1% of the respondents failing to recall where they placed their motor.

Furthermore, we could spend around 10 minutes searching for the misplaced vehicle.

<Insert something here about all crossovers looking the same>

OK, moving on. Of the 2,000 people surveyed, 100 motorists admitted to spending more than half an hour searching for their car. Maybe they were searching in the wrong town. Or maybe they were in denial about buying a Mitsubishi Mirage.

Dude, Where’s My Crossover?

Parked Nissan Qashqai

Of the places where drivers are most likely to misplace their vehicles, multi-storey car parks came out on top, followed by shopping centres, supermarkets, airports and the street.

This is despite smartphone technology enabling motorists to log where they parked their car. Indeed, only nine percent of the respondents said that they used a smartphone to track the location of their vehicle.

Arun Prasad, passenger car category manager at Nissan, said: “In-car connectivity and smartphone apps let drivers use simple and accessible technology to mitigate against some of the everyday pitfalls of motoring – such as forgetting where you parked your car.”

“Through Nissan Intelligent Mobility – our vision for the future of motoring – we’re changing the way we interact with our vehicles to benefit customer lives. Helping drivers easily locate their car is just one of the many benefits under our Intelligent Integration strategy.”

There’s apparently no truth in the rumours that Nissan is developing an intelligent app designed to help you lose your mother-in-law over the Christmas period. Not all of your Christmas wishes will come true.

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Indoor car park

UK council parking profits could top £900 million in 2018

Indoor car parkDo you think you pay too much for parking? Unless you take the train, you probably do. So the fact that English councils are heading toward a combined surplus profit of nearly a billion pounds might add insult to injury.

Official figures supplied to the government by the local authorities suggest a circa-£890 million profit by the end of the 2018-2019 operating period – a 13 percent rise on the 2017-2018 figure of £786 million, as stated by the RAC Foundation in its breakdown of the numbers.

They do, however, allude to the fact that in prior years, estimations have been vastly below the final figure. The 2016-estimate was £747 million, with the final figure coming in at £819 million. That means that for either this period or next, we’ll likely see a billion-pound national profit from parking.

“If previous years are anything to go by then the £885 million is likely to be a significant underestimate. The actual surplus figure for parking operations for 2016-17 was £819 million, far ahead of the £747 million councils had themselves predicted,” said the RAC.

In terms of individual regions, naturally, the capital takes top ‘honours’ for parking takings. Estimates put Westminster at the top of the pile with a projected £78.7 million come the end of 2018-2019.

The figures also show that just 50 of the 354 contributing authorities expect to make a loss from parking.

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Remote control parking now legal

Remote control parking will be legal in the UK from June

Remote control parking now legal

Remote control parking will be legal in the UK from June, following new legislation introduced yesterday. This latest development is another step towards increased automation, with remote parking just one of a number of driving assistance technologies that have the potential to transform car travel, says the Department of Transport (DfT).

The updates will provide clarity for motorists about how the technologies can be used, it says, while allowing the increased use of features like cruise control. The DfT also claims that technology has the potential to make driving more energy efficient, meaning cheaper and cleaner journeys, with improved air quality for both drivers and pedestrians.

The move follows consultation with a range of groups, including manufacturers, insurance companies and hauliers, and remote parking is part of a package of work designed to keep the UK at the forefront of the automated driving sector while ensuring our roads are ready for new technology.

The transport minister, Jesse Norman, said: “Advanced driver assistance systems are already starting to revolutionise driving. It’s encouraging to see the strong support for these innovations from a range of stakeholders. We will continue to review our driving laws, in order to ensure drivers can enjoy the potential of these new tools safely.”

But the DfT was quick to point out that, while drivers should embrace the new technology, they must remain in control of their vehicle. Currently, drivers are not permitted to hold a mobile phone while in the car, but the proposed update will allow them to use a remote control device if they are within six metres of the vehicle. The update will be reflected in the Highway Code.

Transforming lives

The remote parking function may be used in a number of ways, from a key fob issued by the manufacturer to a smartphone app. For example, Mercedes-Benz offers a Remote Parking Assist, which allows owners to manoeuvre into and out of a parking space via an app. Prices start from £19 for a three-month licence to £119 for a full three years of parking joy.

SMMT chief executive, Mike Hawes, welcomed the move, saying: “Connected and autonomous vehicles will transform our lives, with the potential to reduce up to 25,000 serious accidents and create more than 300,000 jobs over the next decade.

“[This] announcement is just one step towards increasing automation but it is an important one enabling increased convenience especially for those with restricted mobility. It is another welcome commitment from government to keep the UK firmly at the forefront of connected and autonomous vehicle development and rollout.

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Parking chaos expected as ticket machines aren't prepared for new £1 coin

Parking chaos expected as ticket machines aren't prepared for new £1 coin

Motorists are being warned that the new £1 coin could cause chaos in car parks across the UK, as ticket machines haven’t been updated to accept the new 12-sided version.

The new coin is being introduced from today to cut down on the number of fake pound coins in circulation – but many business aren’t prepared and might not be able to accept the new £1 piece.

According to the British Parking Association, more than a quarter of Britain’s 100,000 parking machines have not yet been updated to process the 12-sided coin, meaning drivers could struggle to park in many places over the coming months.

Fortunately, the so-called ’round pound’ will be accepted as legal tender until October 15, which gives car park operators more than six months to update their outdated machines.

Online parking marketplace YourParkingSpace.co.uk is grabbing the opportunity to encourage motorists to use its service to book a parking space online.

“The fact that a significant number of cash-operated machines aren’t ready for the new coins is likely to be extremely irritating for drivers, who will be faced with the inconvenience of having to leave their car to go and change money  – or alternatively find somewhere else to park”, said the website’s managing director, Harrison Woods.

“To avoid frustration as well as possible delays to their journey I would recommend drivers reserve their parking in advance online. Our platform allows drivers to book and pay for their parking through a secure system, meaning you’ll never have to root around for the correct change again.”

The firm says that a backlog in ticket machines requiring modification could mean it’s several months before the new coins are widely accepted.

Of course, many car parks also accept payment via phone with a small convenience fee. Or you could just pay using different coins…

Controversial phone app pays £10 if you snap an illegally-parked car

Controversial phone app pays £10 if you snap an illegally-parked car

Controversial phone app pays £10 if you snap an illegally-parked car

A new phone app promises a £10 commission for photographing illegally-parked cars on private land. 

Anyone with the UK Car Park Management app can snap a picture of car parked without permission, then earn a fee if a ticket is issued.

UK Car Park Management (CPM) uses the car number plate to find drivers via the DVLA database, then issues a £60 fine – rising to £100 after 14 days.

App users remain anonymous to limit the risk of recrimination. The CPM website says: ‘Our parking tickets and signs have no reference to yourself. All correspondence are designed to make the motorist believe they have been caught by a CPM Patrol Warden.’

Power to the people?

Understandably, the potential to ‘shop’ other drivers for money has raised concerns. But CPM managing director James Randall says the scheme is a way to empower land owners, protecting them from selfish and illegal parking. 

“The problem is not with the app but with drivers that do not respect people’s land. Now you can take action yourself,” Randall told The Mirror. “The photo uploaded to the app is just the evidence and every one is looked at by a member of staff before a ticket is printed.”

CPM’s website offers advice about how app users can designate their property as private land, including free ready-made parking signs. The company can even install automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) cameras for a fee.

Simply send the photo and ‘we’ll do the rest’, they claim.

Or a recipe for disaster?

Not everyone is convinced, however. RAC spokesman Simon Williams told The Mirror the idea “is wrong on so many levels it beggars belief”.

“The sharp practices of parking companies are already regularly called into question with paid officials dishing out fines, but with members of the public being financially encouraged to shop motorists who overstay, it’s a recipe for disaster,” he continued. This will cause total chaos by undermining trust still further and may even lead to public order offences between drivers and members of the public looking to earn a quick £10.”

AA president Edmund King clearly isn’t a fan, either. He said: “We hoped that outlawing cowboy clampers would have got rid of these sharp practices but it seems that some of the modern day highwaymen are alive and well. Even Dick Turpin did his own dirty work without relying on others.”

Protecting property or a charter for parking vigilantes? Let us know your thoughts on the CPM app.

How to save money on parking

01_Parking

Parking: don’t you just love it? Actually, that’s a rhetorical question, because while carmakers are happy to build cars that will park themselves, you’ll still have to find and pay for your parking bay.

So until some clever person invents a patented Park-o-Happiness widget, how can you save money on parking? We’ve put together a list of handy tips that could save you hundreds of pounds over the course of a year. You’d be parking mad to miss it.

Parkopedia

02_Parking

As its name suggests, Parkopedia is the Wikipedia of the parking world. The website claims to cover 75 countries and over 6,000 towns, giving you access to over 38 million parking spaces. This number is rising all the time, as demonstrated by the ever-increasing figure at the top of the homepage.

It’s all rather easy: you simply search for your desired location and Parkopedia displays a map of the car parks within the immediate vicinity. You can check out the prices and opening hours, as well as any restrictions or items of note.

The map also features a handy ‘traffic light’ system, enabling you to locate the cheapest car parks. For example, search for Knightsbridge — a notoriously expensive place to park — and the coloured bands show green for £0-£19, orange for £19-£37, and red for £37-£56. These prices are based on two hours of parking.

There’s also a smartphone app, while some car parks give you the opportunity to book ahead. Whether you commute to work or are visiting a city for the first time, the Parkopedia website could save you enough to pay for a good lunch.

Book ahead

This is especially important if you intend to leave your car at an airport. Use the official Heathrow Airport website to book seven days of parking and the savings are significant. A week at the Terminal 5 long stay drops from £175.70 to £92.50, while the short stay drops from a staggering £403.90 to a more a palatable £130.60.

The prices will vary depending on availability and how early you book, but you will benefit from booking in advance, even if it’s on the day of travel.

Long stay, not short stay

03_Parking

Sticking with airport parking, there are obvious benefits associated with short stay car parks. Take Heathrow Airport Terminal 5 – it’s a 2-4 minute walk to the short stay car park, compared with a 5-7 minute bus ride to the long stay.

In some airports it feels like the long stay car park is located in an entirely different continent, so you might argue the convenience of parking closer to the terminal outweighs the pain associated with the 20-minute ride in a minibus.

Use a price comparison website

There seems to be a price comparison website for just about everything these days, including airport parking. Holiday Extras is one of the biggest and the most established of all the sites, and the savings can be significant.

The website claims you could save up to 60% versus the price you’d pay on the day, with prices ranging from £2.99 per day or £23.92 per week. Holiday Extras also offers a best price guarantee, meaning they’ll refund the money if you find the same airport parking cheaper elsewhere.

It’s important to do your homework, because not all price comparison sites are as reputable as the market leaders. It’s also worth remembering that cheaper doesn’t necessarily mean better. Research your options before you book.

Hotel package deals

If you’ve booked a room the night before your flight, ask if it’s possible to leave your car at the hotel for the duration of your trip. Some hotel operators offer a hotel+parking package deal, so ask about this when booking your accommodation.

This also applies to city centre breaks. Ask the receptionist if the hotel offers on-site parking, as this could save you tens of pounds over the course of a long weekend. Some hotels will offer free parking on a first come, first served basis, while others will expect a small fee. Check to see if the local pay and display is cheaper.

Park on the edge of the city

04_Parking

In basic terms, the closer you get to the city centre, the more expensive the cost of parking. You’ll also have to do battle with the inevitable congestion and fight for that single elusive free parking bay.

Do yourself a favour and find a car park on the edge of the town or city. In some cases, the parking might be free, but it will almost certainly be cheaper. If you’re worried about the walk, take the bus into the city centre.

Park and ride

Speaking of which, using a park and ride facility tends to work out cheaper than parking in a city. Using Plymouth as an example, you’ll pay £2.90 for an adult return ticket from the George Junction park and ride, while three hours of parking at the Royal Parade will cost £3.60.

Hire a driveway

05_Parking

When you think about it, this makes perfect sense. During working hours, your driveway is likely to be empty, so why not invite somebody else to park there?

There are a number of websites offering a search facility, including yourparkingspace.co.uk, which includes over 250,000 hourly, daily and monthly parking spaces across the country.

We searched for driveways and private parking bays in Oxford and were greeted with a list offering everything from a pub car park on Abingdon Road to a private driveway on Purcell Road. The pub was priced at £6.25 a day, while the driveway could be yours for £125 a month.

Booking is easy: you simply select your arrival and departure times, key in your details, pay online, and the website provides the full address of the space along with the contact details of the owner.

Buy an electric vehicle

06_Parking

Buying a new car to save money on parking might be a tad excessive, but driving an electric vehicle will reduce the amount of cash you spend at car parks.

Many car parks offer free parking while your EV is being recharged, while some will allow you to park for free, regardless of whether you’re charging or not. Assuming you pay £2 per day to park at work, you might save over £400 a year by driving an electric car.

Look for cashback options

To encourage people back into towns and city centres, some local authorities and business groups offer incentivised parking. In other words, whilst you’ll still be asked to pay and display, the cost is refunded if you spend a certain amount in a participating shop.

Similarly, a supermarkets situated in a town or city centre might offer a refund if you happen to shop in store. As one supermarket might say: every little helps, right?

Car park season ticket

If you park in the same car park on a daily basis, it might be worth considering a season ticket. NCP claims a season ticket could save up to 70% on the cost of parking, with the added benefit of not having to search for loose change.

On a similar note, it can pay to be a member of the National Trust. Spend a week on holiday in somewhere like Cornwall and you could spend a small fortune on parking at one of the many National Trust car parks. Membership starts from £63 a year – a cost you could recoup on parking fees alone.

Use the correct change

07_Parking

Those cheeky car park operators want to extract every last penny from your wallet and you’ll often see a ‘no change given’ notice stuck to the pay and display machine. It’s a simple thing, but make sure you use the correct change.

Alternatively, pay by card or use one of the parking apps, such as RingGo. This cashless parking solution allows you to pay via your smartphone and will provide an alert when your parking is about to expire.

Look for alternatives to the car

Whilst we appreciate that you’re hardly going to take the bus to a famous Swedish furniture store to collect a new wardrobe, or cycle into town to pick up your groceries, you have to ask yourself: do I really need to take the car?

Would it be cheaper to take the bus? Could you walk into town? Would it be easier to cycle into work? Could you share a car with somebody else, going Dutch on the cost of the car park?

Railway stations are notoriously expensive places to park, so have you considered cycling to the station? The rail fares are expensive enough without the cost of parking lumped on top.

08_Parking

Buy a car park space

Sounds extravagant? That’s because it most probably is. Parking is an expensive business, so you could consider buying a car park space. Not that this is the cheapest option.

A parking space in Knightsbridge has gone on sale for £250,000 plus £743.22 service charges. Oh, sure, it’s in a private underground car park with 24-hour security, but seriously, that’s only just shy of £284,000 – the average house price in the UK. Still, over the course of a lifetime… 

Don’t park in a hurry

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If you’ve followed our advice, you’ll never have to park in a hurry again. If you’re forced into a corner, either through lateness or a lack of planning, you’ll choose the wrong and often most expensive car park.

A little forward planning goes a long way.

Dementia Friendly car park

‘Dementia Friendly’ parking spaces the first in the UK

Dementia Friendly car park

Plymouth City Council has introduced new dementia accessible parking spaces, thought to be the first of their kind in the UK.

Two designated ‘Dementia Friendly’ spaces can now be found in the Western Approach and Theatre Royal car parks, in a move that follows consultation with the city’s carers. The spaces are on entry level and close to the ticket machines and pedestrian exits, with parking staff also receiving extra training to give them a better understanding of dementia.

The Dementia Friendly Plymouth Initiative is co-ordinated by a partnership of Plymouth City Council and the Plymouth Dementia Action Alliance (PDAA). Councillor Ian Tuffin, cabinet member for health and adult social care for Plymouth City Council, said: “The Council welcomes this suggestion from the public to improve our dementia friendly city awareness and improve our services in this way.

“As a council we are committed to working with our partners to help Plymouth to become a more Dementia Friendly city.”

Dementia Friendly Plymouth

The move was welcomed by the city’s university, with Ian Sherriff, academic partnership lead for dementia, saying: “As someone who is totally committed to helping our society tackle the many challenges that people with dementia and their carers face daily, I am really excited about the news that Plymouth City Council’s parking department have allocated a number of car spaces designated to carers of people with dementia.

“The search for ways to enhance the quality of life for those affected is a constant and complex one. This innovative approach by Plymouth City Council will provide and ensure that the experience of using the city car parks will be Dementia Friendly.”

There are over 3,000 people with a diagnosis of dementia living in Plymouth and this figure is predicted to rise to over 3,600 by 2020.

In a separate move, two of the biggest car parks in Weston-super-Mare became dementia friendly in 2015, when North Somerset Council introduced bright symbols and colourful pictures to help people remember where they have parked. Councillor Elfan Ap Rees said: “This is is an excellent example of an inclusive design.

“It’s such a simple thing to do but is already making a big difference to people using our car parks. I hope this gives other organisations ideas as to how they can make their businesses and facilities dementia friendly.”

In Plymouth, the focus is on helping carers, rather than sufferers, and the Alzheimer’s Society has clear guidelines on when someone with dementia should give up driving. While a diagnosis of dementia is not in itself necessary a reason to stop driving, a person must fulfil certain legal requirements, including telling the DVLA in England, Scotland and Wales, or the DVLNI in Northern Ireland.

For more information on driving and dementia, visit the Alzheimer’s Society website.