In early 2014, Dumfries and Galloway Council made the decision to axe traffic wardens across the whole region. In the nine months immediately after the removal of wardens, the number of tickets issued fell from 3,363 to ~1,600.
That, in and of itself, is not surprising. Fewer people on the streets with the specific task of issuing parking fines will inevitably result in fewer tickets being issued. However, what is surprising is that Dumfries and Galloway did not immediately descend into the motoring free-for-all that so many people suggested it would.
Police claimed that there had been no increase in the reports of traffic obstruction and actually praised drivers for complying with the majority of traffic and parking regulations.
When asked about Police intervention in transportation matters, Inspector Stuart Wilson admitted police officers had had to intervene in a few situations and claimed they would continue to intervene when motorists were abusing regulations.
Two years on from the great traffic warden cull and the situation is not quite as positive.
“You can drive past short stay spaces in the street several times a day and it’s the same cars parked all the time,” says Dumfries councillor Jack Groom. “Castle Street is particularly bad. There’s dentists and chemists and hairdressers and older people have nowhere to park because the spaces are always filled.
“You can see it in Buccleuch Street too but the police say they won’t do anything about it unless they’re causing an obstruction.”
After the region’s six parking wardens were axed, responsibility for enforcing parking regulations was passed to the police. (Parking fines at council car parks are issued by community wardens.) Chief Superintendent Kate Thomson recently admitted motorists who flaunt parking time limits were “unlikely” to be a priority for time-strapped officers.
Thomson said the reality is that officers would only become involved in the case of dangerous parking or obstruction.
Last year, we wrote extensively about the growing parking ticket epidemic in Glasgow and Edinburgh.
During 2013/2014, Glasgow City Council issued 114,317 tickets, which works out at one ticket for every five people in the city. Edinburgh was even worse, issuing an astounding 179,340 tickets over the same period.
Research from the RAC Foundation estimated that parking charges and fines netted the councils a hefty profit of £10.3 million and £15 million respectively.
Collectively, the two councils issued 60 percent of all the tickets in Scotland.
Common Motoring Offences in Dumfries
If you have been charged with a motoring offence in the south of Scotland, it is likely that you will be called to one either Dumfries Justice of the Peace Court or Dumfries Sheriff Court. We have included a brief synopsis of the most common offences motorists are charged with on roads in or around Dumfries.
Careless Driving arises where a person drives “without due care and attention” or “without reasonable consideration for other road users”. This is an area which has generated a great deal of case law as just about every driver has, at one time or another, driven without due care and attention.