Friday, 2 October 2009

UnderRated : Traffic Wardens

In the course of my job, I get to meet a lot of traffic wardens. As in all walks of life, they come in good and bad. But, mostly, they are just trying to do their job as effectively as possible and keep people safe.

Inconsiderate parking can cause dangerous driving scenarios, especially for pedestrians but there are so many people who seem to think that parking rules apply to everyone except for them.

Enforcing parking limits means that everyone gets to have a go and you don't get one selfish person who can't be arsed to pay the fee at the local car park hogging for the entire day one of the free spots designed to facilitate a quick one-hour shopping trip. Commuters can deprive shopkeepers of customers.

Whilst there are many people who just ignore the parking rules they learned as they attempted to pass their driving test, there are some that seem to have changed. For example, parking on double yellow lines is not totally forbidden. You're allowed to stop on these for two minutes to drop someone off but the driver is not allowed to get out of the car.

You are not allowed to stop on the yellow zigzags outside a school at all... but every day you'll find the same lazy nitwits putting the lives of all the children who have to cross there at risk. They just don't seem to understand that other traffic has to overtake them and invariably people drive too fast, even in front of schools, so they don't see the small person stepping out until the last moment.

As parents, we are dependent upon traffic wardens enforcing these rules to ensure the safety of our schoolchildren and yet so many feel that it is acceptable to abuse them when they try to enforce the double yellow line rule. Too many people think that these rules are for other people but they are exempt because it is inconvenient/raining/they are late.


Picture courtesy of


nitebyrd said...

They do put up with a lot of abuse, especially in the US, I think.

Polar said...

That also goes for the folks who park in the reserved spaces for Handicap folks...
They are perfectly Able-Bodied, but when you call them on it, they start to limp.
I look very closely to make sure there is No Tag or License, then loudly announce: "I'm glad to see they even allow the Mentally Handicap to use that Space!"

Joanna Cake said...

Nitebyrd - It always makes me wonder at the mentality of people who abuse people in authority. I can understand their frustration if the uniform in question is being a jobsworth but do they really believe that shouting obscenities at them is actually going to change their mind about issuing the ticket? If the boot was on the other foot, would they change their mind in the face of abuse? I don't think so. It is quite amazing how the most mild mannered person can become so offensive, especially when they are in the wrong!

Polar - Yup, I have seen several disabled permits taken away by traffic wardens and police officers because they quite clearl are not disabled. Quite often, the disabled person isnt even in the car! The ones that really get me are when the disabled person is driving, parks and waits on the double yellow lines for 30 minutes whilst their able-bodied passenger goes to run the errand. My dad once had a disabled badge for my stepmum but he never used it if she wasnt with him because, as far as he was concerned, it wasnt valid.

TROLL Y2K said...

In some places in the US, most infamously Chicago, the entire process is corrupt.

Tickets. Towing. Impounding. In most cases, the victim didn't really park illegally.

They see that the car has out-of-state or Rental-Car plates and ticket, tow, and impound the car. Knowing the person probably won't hang around for 6 months until they get a Court Date to contest the action.

Instead they pay the ticket, the towing fee and the impound fee.

Kevin Musgrove said...

As a pedestrian I echo your comments on lousy parking practices.

Joanna Cake said...

Troll - There has just been legislation here to try to regulate how much is charged to be released from clamps and pounds. It seems that many companies seem to have carte blanche to charge whatever they like. There have also been cases of corruption reported too.

Kevin - Oh, I hear you! Ive been involved in incidents where mothers with prams and walking toddlers have had to walk in the road to get round cars on the pavement. I even had one incident where a car parked on the large pavement outside the shop he had just visited drove straight at me on the pavement and expected me to get out of the way as he tried to return to the road. He clearly believed that he had right of way on both surfaces.

Brandi said...

Parking or driving these days is getting to be more and more scary. People on think of themselves and are too busy being on their phones texting or talking. All I know is I would not want the job of being any kind of parking or traffic enforcement with the attitude and disrespect for others that most people seem to have these days

Anonymous said...

Bet their feet really throb at the end of the day?

Clare said...

I'm completely with you on this one! In Spain double parking is a given. Just make sure you leave your handbrake off in case someone needs to push your car out of the way to get theirs out! Hard cheese I guess if you're disabled and/or don't have the strength to push said car. And don't even get me started on those who park ON zebra crossings!

Joanna Cake said...

Brandi - I did consider taking on the job but I knew I couldnt stand the abuse.

Anon - They do actually drive between locations quite a lot during the day.

Clare - Sounds horrendous! Suddenly, Im thinking our motorists are relatively well trained :)