The newspapers reported this month that the clamping fees dropped to EUR 4.24 mio and is at a lowest level in 5 years. Since the initial idea behind clamping was to stop people from parking in the wrong place or for too long, then there should be a celebration about the drop. Instead, though, a parking fine appeals officer makes the suggestion to increase the penalty from EUR 80 to EUR 130 because it hasn’t been increased since 1998.

For any normal person, a penalty of EUR 80 hurts!! And it definitely hurts enough to comply with the law as much as possible. I would be VERY surprised if a fee of EUR 130 would increase the compliance with parking rules. Sure, EUR 130 hurts even more than EUR 80, but most of us really do not have so much money that we just happily give it to the clampers. I would say that in 95% of the cases the clamping happens because someone got delayed unintentionally or parked in a place where they read the signs wrong (clear way from 16:00 and you didn’t see that it will at some stage become a clearway).

The tiny amount of people that couldn’t be bothered complying with the rules and just accumulates parking tickets will most likely not change their behaviour either if the fees were increased.The appeals officer mentions a case where one offender was clamped 64 times in 48 months. 64×80 is the significant amount of EUR 5,120 and if that offender doesn’t care about paying EUR 5000, should we really thing that an increased fee to EUR 8,320 will make that offender suddenly pay for his parking? Not a chance.

I got clamped approximately 3 times in my life and I can say that it hurts a LOT to have to pay EUR 80. In two of the three cases I made a genuine mistake, the third case was a little more complicated. But I certainly never intended to or willingly risked to get clamped, so EUR 80 is more than enough!

The Irish Independent wrote about it here, and the Irish Times here.