Four in ten appeals made by motorists over parking and bus lane fines are successful, new figures show.
The statistics, revealed through Freedom of Information requests made by the BBC, show that 1.8 million of the almost 4.3 million fines were overturned on appeal over the last five years.
The data also showed that 84 councils accepted more than 50% of appeals – with the RAC saying councils should rectify the problems which lead to motorists being punished by mistake.
Spokesman Simon Williams said the figures were “frightening”, but Martin Tett, transport spokesman for the Local Government Association, told the BBC the figures suggest the appeals process is working.
He said: “As these figures confirm, people who want to challenge a parking fine have access to a clear and effective appeals process.
“Councils have to strike a difficult balance when setting parking policy, to make sure that there are spaces available for residents, high streets are kept vibrant and traffic is kept moving.
“They also need to ensure that emergency vehicles can get access to incidents quickly.”
It’s been reported in the past that some bus lanes generate tens of millions of pounds a year through fines.
Motorists complain that parking restrictions are often poorly signposted or that they strayed into the lanes for just a few seconds to avoid a situation on the road only to be fined.
One army veteran revealed he had been issued with a £70 for stopping his car in an empty bus lane in Leicester on Christmas Day to hand clothes to a homeless man.
The level of parking fines are set by individual councils but typically range from £50 to £80. Bus lane fines – penalty charge notices – are set at £90 for an infringement.
However, if you pay within 14 days of getting the ticket a 50% discount will apply and you will only have to pay £45.