Disabled parking bay abuse is rife
Lazy, uncaring, drivers who parked in council owned disabled parking spaces without a blue badge were collectively fined millions of pounds in 2017 throughout the United Kingdom, Confused.com research revealed. The 97,138 offenders deprived those in need of convenient, practical, parking close to their destinations so were fined £4,244,949 (via penalty charge notices).
Further statistics emphasised the scale of the problem. 8% of motorists without a blue badge parked in disabled bays, for example. Many then tried to justify their immoral behaviour. 35%, for instance, argued that they were ‘only going to be quick’ and 27% claimed there were ‘plenty of other disabled spaces available’.
Drivers in the South East of England proved the most prolific offenders. Fines totalled £838,532.63. This region was followed by:
• South West: £546,355.78
• North West: £422,965
• West Midlands: £421,655.92
• Yorkshire and the Humber: £399,330.27
• East Midlands: £386,744
• London: £315,051.27
• East of England: £278,164.65
• Wales: £263,686.89
• North East: £194,902.50
• Scotland: £175,490
• Northern Ireland: £2,070
Honest motorists appalled
This unacceptable parking baffled the considerate, responsible, drivers who left such bays for those that had the right to use them. 70% were ‘infuriated’ by the offence, in fact. A further 32% added the rules were ‘very clear’. For such reasons, 36% of motorists wanted the fine – that averages £102 – to increase to further punish the drivers that make life harder for badge holders.
Durham County Council Strategic Traffic Manager, Dave Wafer, summarised the mood. He said: ‘We provide disabled parking bays near amenities to allow people with limited mobility to access the same facilities as everyone else. People using such bays do so out of necessity’, he added. ‘Although the vast majority of motorists respect this, some choose to ignore the signage and road markings.’
Number of disabled parking spaces
In the United Kingdom council owned disabled parking is in comparatively short supply. That makes its misuse even more intolerable. In fact, there are merely 42,000 spaces for 1.2 million badge holders. That equates to 34 motorists per space. It is, therefore, no surprise that 77% had to use normal bays in 2017.
Furthermore, the number of badge holders is likely to increase significantly from 2019. The Government, after all, is making people that have hidden difficulties such as autism and mental health issues eligible. ‘Blue badges are a lifeline for disabled people and give them the freedom and confidence to get to work and visit friends independently’, said Transport Minister Jesse Norman.