Size does mat­ter in a park­ing lot

The Star Early Edition - - OPINION & ANALYSIS -

OTORISTS in the UK are hav­ing nearly 1 400 crashes in car parks ev­ery day – be­cause ve­hi­cles are get­ting big­ger while park­ing spa­ces stay the same size.

A re­port by Ac­ci­dent Ex­change re­veals there are more than 500 000 car park prangs an­nu­ally in the UK, cost­ing driv­ers £716 mil­lion (R12.4 bil­lion) a year.

Crit­ics say the spate of scrapes could be be­cause lo­cal au­thor­i­ties are mak­ing the spa­ces as tight as they legally dare, us­ing out­dated reg­u­la­tions that are up to three decades old.

Coun­cils can make bays up to 270cm wide, but most keep to min­i­mum di­men­sions – 228cm wide in long-stay car parks, 249cm in short stay, and 216cm in a mixed area.

This means that even a small mod­ern car may barely fit in – the lat­est Volk­swa­gen Golf hatch­back is 200cm wide, leav­ing less than 15cm of space ei­ther side of a long-stay park­ing space. By com­par­i­son, a Golf from 1974 was just 170cm wide.

There were about 2.2 mil­lion ac­ci­dents on UK roads in 2011, one in four of which were “gen­eral car park in­ci­dents” – and a 4 per­cent in­crease on 2010, ac­cord­ing to the re­port.

But while over the past 20 years cars have widened by up to 25 per­cent, Trans­port Depart­ment rules gov­ern­ing park­ing space sizes have re­mained the same since 1994. Coun­cil guide­lines on off-street park­ing date back to the Eight­ies. – Daily Mail

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