Daily Telegraph - Tuesday 26 September, 2006

Safety is second to revenue

By Kelvin Bissett & Larissa Cummings
Page: 17
Section: General News
Region: Sydney Circulation. 397,054
Type: Capital City daily
Size: 422.61 sq.cms.

HALF of all parking fines issued by councils are for the harmless act of staying too long -- while offences endangering lives are weakly enforced.
An analysis of the 1,125,613 parking infringements issued last financial year shows about $55 million a year is milked from motorists who overstay.
The most common ticket written up by parking officers was for ``parking continuously longer than permitted'' -- issued 222,550 times.
Other similar fines include parking after meter expired (141,361), parking without current ticket displayed (130,004) and standing in area longer than allowed, (68,498).
These four offences -- out of more than 100 parking infringements -- account for 50 per cent of all fines issued, an analysis of documents released under Freedom of Information shows.
Many more serious offences are rarely enforced.
Across the state, 6801 tickets were issued for double parking, 769 for obstructing vehicles and pedestrians and 428 for stopping on or near a children's crossing.
The only offence with safety implications that was strongly enforced was disobey no stopping sign (144,090 tickets).
The analysis of the parking fines comes as The Daily Telegraph can reveal the top streets in NSW where motorists are caught.
Topping the list are four streets in the Sydney CBD -- Pitt, Castlereagh, Kent and Sussex Streets.
Waverley Council, infamous for its aggressive fines regime, has four streets in the top 12.
The latest revelations come after The Daily Telegraph reported yesterday that councils increased their record parking fines haul by $22 million last year, taking their total revenue to $116 million.
Premier Morris Iemma responded to the parking fines frenzy, calling on councils to enforce parking fines fairly.
``It should never be about revenue raising. It's all about road safety and traffic flows,'' he said.
But he rejected a call by the NRMA for councils to be stripped of their power to issue fines.
``We're not going to divert front-line police to taking back that responsibility,'' he said.
``Councils need to ensure that the parking rules are enforced, that the law is enforced in a balanced manner.''
Pedestrian Council chairman Harold Scruby said he believed councils were obsessed by ``revenue raising, meters and time zones'' rather than protecting lives.
Mr Scruby said councils should be focused on enforcing the law on no stopping zones, bus zones, pedestrian crossings, double parking and footpath parking.

Top streets for parking tickets 2005-06
1. Pitt St, Sydney: 22,882 infringments
2. Castlereagh St, Sydney: 12,889
3. Kent St, Sydney: 11,301
4. Sussex St, Sydney: 9129
5. Campbell Pde, Bondi Beach: 8840
6. Spring St, Bondi Junction: 7361
7. Clarence St, Sydney: 6960
8. Park Dr, Bondi Beach: 5675
9. Hickson Rd, Sydney: 5630
10. Norton St, Leichhardt: 4595
11. Hall St, Bondi Beach: 4071
12. George St, Parramatta: 4112
13. Ramsgate Ave, Bondi Beach: 4071
14. Ebley St, Bondi Junction: 4060
15. York St, Sydney: 3969
16. North Steyne Reserve, Manly: 3956
17. Elizabeth St, Sydney: 3902
18. Pyrmont St, Pyrmont: 3876
19. King St, Newcastle: 3772
20. Oxford St, Paddington: 3772
21. Bondi Rd, Bondi: 3621
22. Railway Pde, Burwood: 3577
23. Lawson St, Byron Bay: 3465
24. Macquarie St, Parramatta: 3367
25. Bronte Rd, Bronte: 3283

© This work is copyright and is reproduced under licence from News Limited