We all know that life is sometimes more difficult for those with physical disabilities.
All kinds of health issues can severely affect somebody’s mobility, even if there aren’t obvious physical symptoms. For some, just walking from the car park to the supermarket takes a lot of effort and energy. Indeed, running the general day-to-day errands that most people take for granted can be a real hardship for someone who struggles with a disability, so it’s all too easy to imagine that trying to find an empty disabled parking space only adds to the frustration!
In the UK, motorists with disabilities can make use of the Blue Badge scheme, a national initiative designed to help people with severe mobility problems park as close as possible to their destination. While this is mainly for on-street parking, some disabled parking can also be provided by local authorities, supermarkets and hospitals for their customers.
Here at CareCo headquarters we always make sure disabled parking spaces are free for our valued customers. But it’s a sad fact that in some town centres, supermarkets and hospitals it can be more a matter of luck than it should be.
Would You Take the Disability too?
Although many businesses do provide accessible parking for their customers, trying to find an empty spot can be a real battle against the selfish minority.
Chances are you’ve heard the usual arguments by drivers taking a disabled spot they don’t need.
“I’m running late!”
“I’ll only be five minutes!”
“I see other people do it all the time!”
Maybe they wouldn’t be so quick to take the space if the disability came with it. The fact is unless somebody personally depends on these parking spaces, they might not appreciate how important they are.
What’s the Law on Disabled Parking?
The misuse of these parking bays often means a lack of disabled parking for those who really need it. Although the law is not enforceable in private car parks (such as those provided by supermarkets) and disabled drivers must rely on the goodwill of the public, misusing the blue badge in certain instances can leave you liable in the eyes of the law.
Motorists should not:
- Borrow or share a badge
- Use a fake or altered badge
- Park in a disabled parking spot without displaying their badge
- Disobey regular UK parking regulations
Police officers and traffic enforcers have the right to inspect blue badges, and you must show a valid badge when asked. Some local authority websites have online forms that can be filled in by members of the public if they suspect someone has been misusing their permit. Criminal misuse of a blue badge can carry a fine of up to £1000, while illegally parking in a spot meant for blue badge holders should see drivers hit with a Penalty Charge Notice and a fine of between £40 and £80.
Whether it’s fraud or just plain thoughtlessness, flouting the rules prevents disabled motorists from using these spaces. According to a survey, around 90% of the public think that parking regulations aren’t enforced strongly enough, so it seems clear that more should be done to help people find accessible parking spaces.
Blue badge holder? Take a look at our stylish blue badge wallets which include a timer clock so you can keep track of how long you’ve been parked.