Road Sensors Mean Learners Must Master Parking
The new road sensors will track vehicles as they enter and leave parking spaces. The devices have been developed so that information on available spaces will be fed to smart phones and digital tablets using an app. This seems reasonable but there is a danger of people using their devices when actually driving around looking for a space. There are many campaigns dedicated to curbing the use of mobile phones whilst driving owing to the ever increasing number of accidents caused by this behaviour. Providing information to hand held devices makes their use a necessity for finding a parking space whilst driving.
Another use of the road sensors is to notify traffic wardens when parking time has expired and the owner of the vehicle is then liable to a fine. This is seen as many motorists as an excuse to raise cash as traffic wardens can then lie in wait to issue a parking ticket. Many people park in unsafe positions as a result of poor knowledge regarding parking restrictions and lack of skill in manoeuvring a vehicle. Parking regulations can be complicated with differences for time of day, spaces provided for loading and unloading and street signs which can be difficult to see and easy to ignore by people in a hurry. Parking regulations are given lip service on the theory test with no real practice of reversing into a tight gap given on driving lessons. Instructors need to make sure that learners understand road markings and signs on practical lessons.
The road sensors can be used to show how many vehicles use a particular street with higher charges set to be imposed on more heavily used streets. Drivers may seek streets with lower parking charges creating a bigger safety problem and annoying local residents. Parking for the purposes of the driving test is never into a gap, but behind one car and finishing within a certain distance. As roads become more crowded higher levels of skill and judgement are needed to safely put the car into a space ensuring it does not stick out and there is no damage to other vehicles. The driving test method of parking takes away the risk of damaging another vehicle but does not prepare pupils for backing into a space in busy urban areas and this should to be covered in lessons.
Local councils must to keep in mind that parking restrictions are in place to improve road safety by keeping junctions and sight lines clear. If motorists see this system as a means of fund raising then the important safety message is lost. Privately owned premises are beginning to use the system to monitor their car parks which may be an issue for driving instructors who are forced to use these to practice the bay parking manoeuvre.