Van drivers in the UK have been hit with fines worth £1.7m in the last three years for incorrectly parking or stopping in a loading bay, new research from Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles finds.
A Freedom of Information request to councils earlier this summer found councils have issued an average of 13,000 parking fines a year since 2015 with figures rising by 10% year-on-year – highlighting how the rules around loading bays are increasingly unclear for van drivers.
The research also showed nearly a quarter (23%) of appeals against Penalty Charge Notices (PCNs) for incorrect use of a loading bay were successful.
Although legally, van drivers are allowed to stop at a loading bay to drop off or collect goods, thousands don’t fully understand the rules, as revealed by the research.
The majority of loading bays can be used to collect pre-ordered goods or unload goods that require a vehicle to transport them. If a vehicle is left unattended, it needs to be clear (through the use of hazards for example) that goods are being loaded and unloaded.
Additionally, drivers are not permitted to stop in a loading bay without loading or unloading or to use it to wait for parking.
And drivers should always check the time restrictions within each loading bay as these vary from council to council. Loading bays cannot be used for collecting or dropping off passengers.
Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles’ research also revealed the councils which have issued the highest number of loading bay PCNs over the past three years, with Glasgow (106,752 loading bay PCNs), Manchester (39,125) and Haringey (30,869) coming up top.
In response, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles is advising drivers to make use of various parking apps on smartphones.
Sarah Cox, head of marketing at Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles, added: “As this research reveals, PCNs are costing businesses thousands of pounds a year when, in fact, they can be avoided completely if you understand the rules correctly. Loading bays are an essential part of the red route network as they allow businesses to access central locations to make and receive important deliveries. As the rules change between councils, it is crucial that you check before you park.”