Inconsiderate and irresponsible parking is becoming a growing problem across Sutton Coldfield. So much so that one group of residents have set up a Twitter account aiming to highlight the problem and shame those responsible in to thinking about the danger dodgy parking poses.
Parking Plonkers are asking drivers to think about pavement users before plonking their car just anywhere (twitter.com/plonkwatch).
But it isn’t just safety conscious citizens who are taking action when it comes to car plonking; West Midlands police are now actively targeting dangerous parkers in a new roads police operation prompted by members of the public who’d notified neighbourhood policing teams and the local authority about repeat parking offenders who were causing concern in communities.
The traffic campaign will target motorists who pose a road risk through dangerous and inconsiderate parking.
Officers from the Road Harm Reduction Team were in east Birmingham yesterday (Mon 4 Dec) on the lookout for vehicles ramped up onto pavements, causing traffic obstructions or parked hazardously at junctions.
86 people were prosecuted and handed fines for traffic offences – with one car towed away for causing a hazard at a junction – and warning letters given to inconsiderate motorists warning they risked being prosecuted if they didn’t brush-up their parking habits.
PC Mark Hodson said:
“We’re hearing from parents with pushchairs and people who rely on mobility scooters to get around who are being forced into the road because cars are parked on pavements.
“And we often see cars pretty much dumped at junctions that obstruct other drivers’ views and increase the chances of collisions occurring.
“This kind of behaviour isn’t just a nuisance…it can have fatal consequences and we’re determined to show motorists that it’s not acceptable.
“This operation is in direct response to members of the public who are fed up with selfish drivers, those who want to save time or money and park hazardously, and have contacted their local authority or police team.”
Police teamed up with traffic wardens and a camera enforcement unit from Birmingham City Council on the operation in streets, especially around schools, and busy thoroughfares in Washwood Heath, Alum Rock, Ward End and Saltley.
Section 22 of the Road Traffic Act states it is an offence to leave a vehicle or trailer on a road in such a position as to cause a danger to other road users – including parking wholly on footpaths – with offenders facing penalty points and fines of up to £1,000.
PC Hodson, added:
“People can park partially on pavements but not wholly as that would constitute an offence of driving on a footpath. The rule of thumb is that if a double buggy or wheelchair cannot pass with ease then that constitutes an offence.
“And when we find vehicles in a dangerous position and cannot trace the driver, we will remove the vehicle and the owner will be liable to pay for the recovery in addition to a fine.
“We plan to train up neighbourhood police teams across the West Midlands so they can run dangerous parking operations themselves locally; these offences can be detected, evidenced and prosecuted in just 30 minutes in the street.
“PCSOs will also be educating motorists and handing out warning leaflets in addition to the enforcement activity: we just want people to change their habits, park sensibly and legally, and by doing so cut the number of serious collisions on our roads.”
West Midlands Police ran a trial parking operation in Ward End on 19 October that resulted in 13 motorists being prosecuted – nine for causing an unnecessary obstruction and four for leaving vehicles in dangerous positions.
It included one driver that had parked on a pavement beneath a bus shelter.
Cllr Stewart Stacey, Cabinet Member for Transport & Roads at Birmingham City Council, said:
“There is no absolutely no excuse for parking dangerously and selfish motorists who block pavements and force people with pushchairs, wheelchairs or mobility scooters into the road should not be surprised at being prosecuted for their inconsiderate behaviour.
“I hope those caught will have a long, hard think about the potential consequences of their actions and, ultimately, amend their behaviour next time they are looking for somewhere to park.”