Van drivers have been hit with fines worth a total of £1.7 million in the last three years for incorrectly parking or stopping in a loading bay.
Councils have issued an average of 13,000 parking fines a year since 2015, with figures rising by 10% year-on-year, according to a study by Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles which highlights how the rules around loading bays are increasingly unclear for van drivers.
Further demonstrating the confusion around loading bays, the research found that 23% of appeals against Penalty Charge Notices for incorrect use of a loading bay were successful.
Legally, van drivers are allowed to stop at a loading bay to drop off or collect goods, but the new statistics reveal that thousands don’t fully understand the rules.
Most 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.
It is also important to 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.
The Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles research, obtained via a Freedom of Information request, unveiled the councils which have issued the most loading bay PCNs over the past three years. Van drivers working in Glasgow, Manchester and Haringey need to take most care when making deliveries or stopping on red routes.
“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.”