It can sometimes seem as though people don’t understand the necessity of parking spaces specifically reserved for disabled people but a survey undertaken by car leasing company, Flexed.co.uk, suggests otherwise.
The survey indicates a collective irritation at the abuse and widespread support for tougher penalties for those who misuse the scheme. Contrary to this view however, is the attitude of local authorities and store operators who worry about the fallout from making any false accusations.
An essential scheme
Anybody with a disability will immediately realise that the Blue Badge scheme is essential and indeed (although the issue is UK-wide) research conducted by Transport Scotland in 2012 showed that 76% of Blue Badge holders would go out less often if they were without their badge; with many suggesting that they wouldn’t venture out at all. Across the UK Blue Badge fraud is estimated to cost the public sector £46 million a year.
The rules are simple and clear in that Blue Badges should only be used by those people who have been awarded a badge and have a right to the parking concessions. Recently measures have been introduced in an attempt to prevent fraud.
Data is at the heart of monitoring the correct usage of Blue Badges and so the records of every Blue Badge issued in England and Scotland can now be accessed through a national database, enabling automated sharing of all information across local authorities in order to cut fraud. The new database will ensure more effective monitoring of cancelled, lost or stolen badges and help to tackle badge misuse.
What should the penalties be?
Flexed.co.uk asked 800 drivers about their thoughts on appropriate penalties for restricted parking bay abuse. The results were:
- 92% said they should be named-and-shamed in public.
- 83% said they should be fined.
- 65% said they should be banned from the shop or shops involved.
- 54% said the ‘punishment’ should be the same irrespective of whether it was on public or private land’.
For further information about the Blue Badge scheme visit: www.gov.uk/blue-badge-scheme-information-council