UK van drivers have been hit with fines totalling £1.7 million in the last three years for incorrectly parking or stopping in a loading bay, according to research by Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles.
VW says councils have issued an average of 13,000 parking fines a year, with the figure rising by 10% year-on-year.
It says this highlights how the rules around load bays are increasingly unclear for van drivers.
VW also found that 23% of appeals against load bay penalties were successful, which it says further demonstrates the confusion around them.
VW also found that Glasgow, Manchester and Haringey councils have issued the highest number of load bay penalty charge notices over the last three years.
It has reminded drivers that most loading bays can be used to collect pre-ordered goods or unload goods that require a vehicle to transport them, but if a vehicle is left unattended, it needs to be clear (through the use of hazards for example) that goods are being loaded and unloaded.
Additionally, drivers aren’t allowed to stop in a loading bay without loading or unloading or to use it to wait for parking, and should always check time restrictions as these vary from council to council.
Loading bays cannot be used for collecting or dropping off passengers.
VW CV head of marketing Sarah Cox said: “As this research reveals, penalty charge notices are costing businesses thousands of pounds a year when, in fact, they can be avoided completely if you understand the rules correctly.
“Loading bays are an essential part of the red route network as they allow businesses to access central locations to make and receive important deliveries. “As the rules change between councils, it is crucial that you check before you park.”