Stiffer fines for repeat parking offenders

Under a new tiered system, motorists who are caught for illegal parking more than once within a year will face fines up to 60 per cent heavier than the current rates.

The tougher penalties - to be introduced on Jan 1 next year - will target repeat offenders, who have been responsible for about half of all parking offences committed between 2011 and 2014.

Along with a stiffer penalty system, enforcement will also be stepped up, as closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras to catch illegal parking will be installed at 40 more locations, up from the current 30.

They will be operational from the first quarter of next year.

Under the new rules, for example, a motorist caught parking along unbroken double yellow lines will be fined $110, instead of $70, if it is his second offence in 12 months.

The number of demerit points, which are handed out for more serious violations, will remain unchanged.

Announcing the changes, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) said parking offences committed before the start of the new rules will not be taken into account.

The LTA said the tougher penalties will "reduce the number of repeat offenders" and also the overall number of parking offences.

Between January and September this year, 340,300 summonses were issued for parking offences. For the whole of last year, there were 357,600 and, in 2012, a whopping 427,200.

While most motorists said the new rules will make them think twice about parking illegally, some questioned if they are fair.

Mr Gavin Ng, 36, a logistics manager, believes that a heavier fine for a second-time offence may be too harsh. "The circumstances for parking illegally vary each time. Say it is an emergency, such as parking on double yellow lines to run to the toilet," he said.

Mr Y.T. Tan, 30, a communications manager, asked: "What if the driver of the same vehicle is a different person the second time round?"

MP Lim Biow Chuan, a member of the Government Parliamentary Committee (GPC) for Transport, said there should be more public education on the issue.

"Many motorists don't realise that illegal parking can cause danger to other road users. For example, pedestrians crossing the road may not be able to see oncoming cars if their view is blocked by illegally parked cars," he said.

Transport GPC deputy chairman Seng Han Thong said: "Some motorists also don't understand that no parking also means no waiting."

This article was first published on December 23, 2014.
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