Drivers keen to avoid parking fines
Councils wishing to fill budget deficits with cash from parking fines may be disappointed - because drivers are determined to avoid them, a motoring organisation has said.
AA members were asked to pick their motoring New Year resolutions, and by far the most popular was trying to park legally more often.
Some 70% were keen to keep parking attendants twiddling their thumbs, the study found.
Driving less aggressively (58%) was the next most popular aim, with obeying the speed limit more at 56% - the same as driving less often.
Driving more safely (46%) and more economically (36%) were also resolutions which probably reflect the high cost of fuel, it said.
AA president Edmund King said: "Too many councils are banking on extra revenue from raising parking fine levels - in London they want to charge £130.
"They may be sorely disappointed: high fuel prices and austere times mean fewer trips to the shops and less pressure on parking spaces.
"There is no justification for increasing parking penalties as compliance at current levels has improved. Yet many local authorities are now introducing parking charges on Sundays, extending parking charges until 10pm and hiking up the price of residents' parking permits.
"Hard times also manifest themselves in the high number looking at driving less often (56%) and more economically (36%). It may also suggest that many drivers now feel they cannot save any more fuel by changing their driving and that they are being forced to find ways of not driving."
Recent Government figures indicate that drivers are already complying more with parking restrictions as the number of penalty charge notices issued on-street in England in 2009/10 was 7.14 million compared to 7.41 million in 2008/09, a 4% decrease, the AA said.