Almost 10,000 parking tickets have been issued in Cookstown and Magherafelt in the last three years, the Mid-Ulster Mail can reveal.
According to figures obtained by this paper from Transport NI, in Mid-Ulster’s two main towns alone, 9384 tickets have been issued from 2012 to end of October this year.
In Magherafelt, 5083 tickets were issued in the last three years, while in Cookstown 4301 were handed out to motorists disobeying parking rules.
A penalty charge notice of £90 is issued when a motorist breaks a parking law, but if paid within 14 days the amount is reduced to £45.
However, if a parking ticket is not paid within 28 days, a Notice to Owner will issue to the registered keeper of the vehicle. When a Notice to Owner has been issued, the parking ticket must be paid within 28 days or a Charge Certificate will be issued. The effect of a Charge Certificate is to increase the amount from £90 to £135.
2013 was the year when the largest number of tickets were issued in Magherafelt, with 1766 tickets issued in that calendar year, meanwhile 2012 was the year with the most tickets issued in Cookstown as 1588 tickets were handed out.
Motorists in Cookstown and Magherafelt have though been successful in having their parking tickets overturned through the appeal process.
In Cookstown, 10 per cent of all parking tickets issued in the last three years have been successfully overturned, meanwhile in Magherafelt 14 per cent of all tickets have been overturned in the same time frame.
Not all motorists in Mid-Ulster area are prompt at paying their parking fines, in Cookstown there are 225 unpaid fines still outstanding with 80 of those dating back to 2012.
In Magherafelt, there are currently 265 unpaid parking tickets with almost 100 of them having been issued in 2012.
These figures come on the back of the latest survey conducted by British Parking Association (BPA) in Northern Ireland, which revealed that over half of drivers in Northern Ireland (55%) are unaware of their rights when it comes to parking.
Over half of motorists surveyed also believe that the process for appealing a parking ticket is confusing.
Patrick Troy, Chief Executive of the BPA, comments: “This research shows that the majority of motorists understand the importance of good parking management and the vital role it plays in ensuring our towns, cities, and high streets are vibrant and appealing places.
“However, it is clear that many motorists are often left confused by parking rules and regulations. “Whilst drivers of course have a responsibility to check the parking restrictions in operation, we must ensure that the rules are made as clear as possible to reduce the amount of avoidable fines and charges. The Know Your Parking Rights Campaign will help motorists to do this by providing a comprehensive and trusted resource so they can better understand parking restrictions, saving them time and money.”