Willful ignorance?

25 Nov

I passed a UK Mail delivery van parked on the zig-zag lines by a pedestrian crossing yesterday. I asked him politely to move and he responded saying he was allowed to stay there for 5 minutes. wrong! When I challenged him I got a tirade of abuse including words beginning with F and P together with the ‘get a real job’ and ‘people like you need a smack in the gob’ etc. Not exactly what on expects from postman pat! Update… see bottom of post for an impressive, prompt and helpful response from UK Mail to this particular incident.

Zig zag man

It is, of course, a criminal offense to even stop on the zig-zag lines. To quote: “The only time in which it could be permitted to stop on zigzag lines is in the case of an emergency or where the reason that the vehicle came to a halt was beyond the driver’s control”. Rule 240 of the highway code says You MUST NOT stop or park on …”a pedestrian crossing, including the area marked by the zig-zag lines”. The actual legislation is in ‘The Zebra, Pelican and Puffin Pedestrian Crossings Regulations and General Directions 1997’ (Section 18). The markings are defined in schedule 4.

I notice that their website implies that these drivers are self employed and that the job is ‘fast-paced, exciting, challenging – and lucrative.’ ‘An average day will see me make in excess of 100 deliveries and 20 plus collections.’ and ‘it requires energy, adrenaline and vitality in bundles.’ They do also say that ‘UK Mail invests a lot of time and effort in training and supporting its staff’ however that doesn’t seem to include training about the Highway Code. It is a public company which operates 3,500 vehicle from 50 sites and made £17m profit last year. It says that it is committed to pushing the boundaries of the postal and express delivery markets. Ummm, does that include parking?

The choice of these huge vehicles is of course a business decision as is the number of deliveries required in a day as is the decision to incentivise the drivers and celebrate speed on their website. The drivers lack of knowledge of the law seems to fall into the category of ‘willful ignorance‘ which is a very common condition amongst poor parkers! Of course if the drivers are really expected to do 120 deliveries/collections in a day (lets assume a long 10 hours) then that is one every 5 minutes which doesn’t give much time to find a parking spot each time in such a large vehicle when they also have traffic to deal with and finding the person to sign for the package.

This is the third time in a few weeks that we have experienced an aggressive response to poor parking choices by people driving professional vehicles who have all said that they are parking legally. Personally I feel it is an issue we will see time and time again until these companies feel financial and brand pain. As usual I will contact the company and see what they say.

Update – success!
Within 1 hour of emailing the head office I have received both an email and a phone call from the local UK Mail manager and he is taking it seriously. Very impressive! To quote from his email (with him permisssion). I hope that the driver will also be taking this important message on board.

“Here at Ipswich we pride ourselves on our customer service and try to
maintain very high standards in both performance and customer service.
However when these standards slip I need to take action quickly and through
your feedback this will allow me to do so.

“The individual will be brought to task, and will not be driving until after
his interview Friday, please take my assurances that If after interview he
retains his job he will not be repeating his actions again

“Please feel free to contact me if you or your organisation ever note
anything that would be deemed as unacceptable again. We are not above the law and however “pressurised” it appears my people are I do not accept such actions.

4 Responses to “Willful ignorance?”

  1. SteveL (A Bristol Traffic team member) November 25, 2010 at 8:57 am #

    If you put the name of the company in the title of your postings, it appears higher up in web searches, especially once other web sites start reprinting your content. Ultimately this will result in your coverage of delivery vans and other drivers appearing in the top search results when people look for this company.

    Just a thought…

    • Peter Miller November 25, 2010 at 9:55 am #

      Thanks for that Steve. For sure we will need to ramp up pressure on individual companies, however this post is more about the extraordinary rudeness and lack of road knowledge that seems to be endemic across the sector rather than pulling up one company. I have now emailed them so will be interested to see their response.

  2. pete February 26, 2013 at 11:46 am #

    as much as it is illegal, he is not really obstructing anything as the crossing for pedestrians would have passed the driver travelling in that direction. He is not really blocking the view for someone travelling in that direction. A successful prosecution would be difficult to achieve.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. motorists – 2nd class citizens?! « Pedestrian Liberation - November 27, 2010

    […] to be ruled unenforceable! 39 times? The markings must be very confusing or is this another case of willful ignorance? He also complained about “petty little bureaucrats”, “stealth taxes” and […]

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