CCTV cars are helping local councils fine drivers with footage that shows them parking for as little as 17 seconds, with motorists even being handed automated tickets for cars that were still moving.
The Traffic Penalty Tribunal has released a study containing examples of how the camera cars have automatically issued tickets to hapless motorists, but says that only a small proportion of those punished actually appeal.
In one case, the video provided showed that the council were clearly in the wrong, with the report saying: "Approaching the entrance to his destination, he did not park but had to manoeuvre out of the way of another vehicle, wait for a pedestrian to move aside then reverse to allow another car to drive out before himself driving in."
It says the video clearly showed the reversing lights on the car, and therefore proved he wasn't parked at any point, but a ticket was still issued. The adjudicator slammed the council for providing a tiny amount of footage to back the ticket up – just 17 seconds – and upheld the motorist's appeal.
The automated system means that drivers only find out about their fine when a ticket drops through their letterbox, rather than having one put on their windscreen.
AA spokesman Luke Bosdet told The Mail that the use of cameras has dramatically increased the number of tickets, saying: "putting in cameras has turned a cottage industry into an industrial process."
The Tribunal's figures showed that the number of tickets issued rose from 3,832,322 in 2007-08 to 4,035,555 in 2008-09 and then jumped again to 4,245,998 in 2009-10. Despite this, the adjudicators said that there were many more issued tickets that could have been quashed, with only one percent of those fined choosing to appeal.