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NOT A PARKING OFFENCE? OTHER ALLEGED OFFENCES?


Parking on zigzags (Regulation 20): Whilst this is not advised, and should be avoided wherever possible, there are always going to be situations where avoidance is simply not an option, for example when a drunk shouts “STOP HERE” and starts to open the door.


Again, under normal circumstances it is an instant offence; actually parking on zigzags is dangerous as it can obscure the view of zebra crossings and school crossings.


But I said alleged, right?


Once again there are exemptions to the regulations, which can be found here


https://bit.ly/3kC8Kup (the relevant parts to our industry are copied for your convenience below)


EXCEPTIONS TO REGULATION 20


21. Regulation 20 does not prohibit the driver of a vehicle from stopping it in a controlled area


l If the driver is prevented from proceeding by circumstances beyond his control or it is necessary for him to stop to avoid injury or damage to persons or property.


Which includes a drunk opening a door and jumping out.


22.(1) Regulation 20 does not prohibit the driver of a vehicle from stopping it in a controlled area for so long as may be necessary to enable the vehicle to be used for the purposes of:


l The removal of any obstruction to traffic


l If the vehicle is a public service vehicle being used in the pro- vision of a local service


l To carry passengers for hire or reward at separate fares, and the vehicle, having proceeded past the crossing to which the controlled area relates, is waiting in that area in order to take up or set down passengers


l If he stops the vehicle for the purpose of making a left or right turn.


In light of these exemptions, I (Dave Lawrie) was the first to chal- lenge the tickets awarded against me by police officers. Both cases were taken to Magistrates Court.


The defence was very clear, a lady with three very small children were in the vehicle, approaching the local post office which just happened to be located right on a zebra crossing, traffic had built up due to a pedestrian crossing on the very same crossing, at which point, the lady announced she wanted to go to the post of- fice, noticed we had stopped, and got out, had I driven off as soon as the traffic started to flow, then injury would indeed have been caused, leaving the three small children in the vehicle with me, the only option I had was to reverse back as far as I could which was actually very close to the front edge of the markings, whilst remaining visible from the post office, and await her return in order to avoid the risk of being reported for attempted child ab- duction.


NOVEMBER 2020 THE VERDICT HERE WAS NOT GUILTY


The second occasion was with the same officer, where I attended court, watched her go past me, and then past me again and leave. Two hours later I got called into the courtroom to be told they had heard the case in my absence; this was then challenged and taken to Crown Court under appeal.


On hearing the appeal the same exemptions were applied but on this occasion, about the vehicle being used to provide passenger transport, the situation was that I was assisting an elderly lady into her house. The street where she lived had no parking at all, the only option remaining was to park as close as possible and then physi- cally assist her into the house in order to ensure she did not fall and hurt herself. This also relied on our licensing (and moral) responsi- bilities to offer and provide all reasonable assistance with luggage and to the passengers.


On hearing the defence, the magistrate’s decision was overturned and the charges dismissed.


FINAL THOUGHTS


Legislation is often very difficult to understand or interpret. In many cases, the decisions reached may well be so far from the intended purpose of the acts that we often scratch our heads wondering who reached that decision, and how?


That is the very nature of legislation, and the reason why solicitors must spend so long studying and training to become qualified. If in doubt, ask; if the answer is not clear enough to you, then ask again or get a second opinion. Currently, with the amount of knowl- edge out there, there is no need for you to be alone.


Article written by Dave Lawrie, Director NPHTA dave@nphta.co.uk


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