The number of motorists handed tickets by private parking companies has soared in one year, official figures suggest.
The latest figures released by the DVLA show the licensing agency shared 1.74 million records with private parking companies in the first quarter of the 2017-18 financial year.
This is compared with the 1.06 million records released in the first quarter of 2016-17.
The RAC Foundation estimates that if the release of data was replicated across the remaining three quarters of the year then the annual total would be 7 million, up from 4.7 million in 2016-17.
The records are used by parking companies to chase vehicle owners for alleged infringements of rules in private car parks. The penalty tickets the companies issue are often up to £100 each.
The data suggests that a private parking ticket is now being issued every 4.5 seconds.
These figures follow the introduction of a private members’ bill - Parking (Code of Practice) - by Conservative MP Greg Knight which aims to end the self-regulation of the private parking industry.
‘These figures are a stark illustration of why Sir Greg’s bill is so badly needed and if there is one piece of legislation which should command cross-party support it is this,’ said Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation.
‘Self-regulation of the private parking sector has not worked - even many of the big companies acknowledge that - and we are delighted Sir Greg Knight is coming to the rescue with law that will create a single, binding code of conduct, something we have campaigned for over several years.
‘Five years after the ban on clamping, private parking has turned into an industry worth hundreds of millions of pounds with many firms relying on enforcement as their only way of making money.
‘No wonder the DVLA is now being inundated annually with many millions of requests for vehicle keeper data so drivers can be sent penalty tickets on often dubious grounds.’