Motorists say private parking companies have a 'bad reputation'.

Nine out of 10 drivers welcome a government proposal to impose stricter regulation on private parking companies, according to new research.

The RAC’s survey of more than 1,400 drivers found that a massive 93 percent thought that Sir Greg Knight’s Parking Code of Practice Bill was a ‘good idea’, with 81 percent of those quizzed claiming parking companies have a ‘bad reputation’.

Of those, 84 percent said the reputation was fuelled by a level of fines that was ‘disproportionate’ to the contraventions committed, while almost three-quarters (72 percent) said car park signs were often either hidden or hard to read, and 69 percent said parking charges were too high.

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The bill, which was first proposed last year, will get its second reading in the House of Commons on Friday, and looks likely to become law after Communities Secretary Sajid Javid said the government would support it.

‘For too long drivers have suffered from unjust fines at the hands of dodgy parking firms,’ he said on Sunday. ‘We need a fairer, clearer and more consistent system that brings the small minority of unscrupulous operators in line with those who are behaving appropriately. That is why government is backing new laws that will put a stop to aggressive behaviour.’

According to the survey, eight out of 10 drivers (81 percent) want to see the bill deliver a national standard on signs that show parking charges and fines, while almost as many (78 percent) said they would like to see the government form a parking regulator to enforce the code of practice.

RAC spokesman Nicholas Lyes said: ‘The motorists we questioned expressed very strong views about the practices of private parking companies – presumably based on numerous unfortunate experiences – so it is excellent news that the Government will support Sir Greg Knight’s bill into law. We are hopeful this will lead to a better experience for everyone who uses car parks run by private parking companies.

‘Importantly, this bill will facilitate a set of national guidelines which we hope will make the appeal process simpler, tighten access to the DVLA database and bring higher standards to a sector that clearly has a poor reputation among motorists.