2 December 2014

Who to believe?

A PATAS decision:

The Appellant explained that his brother had been suffered a knee injury while playing rugby that day and he was taking him to a friend. His brother was using crutches that he had lent him and he stopped on this yellow line and  helped his brother out of the car and to the door of the premises of his brother's friend. He said that the civil enforcement officer saw him helping his brother and he asked him if it was alright for him to stop there while he helped his brother inside and the officer replied it was.

The officer records seeing the driver return after the Penalty Charge Notice was issued and asking why a Penalty Charge Notice had been issued and that he explained the rules to him. There was no observation period and the Appellant said he was away from the vehicle for a matter of seconds rather than minutes.

The Enforcement Authority say that as the officer did not record seeing a passenger they do not accept that the alighting/boarding exemption which allows a vehicle to wait as long as necessary for a passenger to alight or board applies.

I found the Appellant to be a credible witness and believed what he told me. I accept that he was dropping  off his injured brother and the exemption would include time spent assisting such a passenger to premises.

The adjudicator often has to decide between two opposite accounts, those of the traffic warden and that of the driver/owner. The traffic warden very rarely presents evidence in person, the council relying on the notes that the traffic warden made at the time. The motorist therefore has an advantage that if they are honest, consistent and come across well their account should carry more weight than a few simple notes made by the traffic warden. 

If you have a genuine case it is therefore worth your while to take the trip to Angel, Islington to present your argument in person (take a day off, don't go on a Saturday as they seem to go badly for motorists). Mr Mustard has no doubts about the story in the above case. What counted against the council was the lack of an observation period although the passenger still wouldn't have been seen unless the traffic warden had arrived a minute earlier.

This decision confirms the exemption that you can drop off (or pick up) passengers on single and double yellow lines. You will usually be allowed 2 minutes, longer with the disabled, injured, small children or old people and you can accompany them into a building for their safety or if they can't get there without you.

Don't pay up meekly when you have done nothing wrong. Fight back.

Yours frugally

Mr Mustard

1 comment:

  1. About time the law was changed to require observation periods where exemptions apply to the restriction that could involve the driver being absent from the vehicle


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