This week our motoring columnist Brian McDaid discusses parking at disabled parking spaces and what law enforcement is doing to clamp down on the issue.
Fines for parking in disabled parking spaces has trebled in only three years in areas that have focused on the problem. In doing so, they have discovered the issues with this offence is more complex than expected.
We are all experts in pointing out the people we know shouldn’t be parked in disabled parking spaces.
It bothers us, as the majority of us respect the signs and the spaces for disabled located in the handiest places outside the front door of a bank, a chemist, a doctors practice or a café.
Most of us respect the efforts that local authorities go to mark out premium parking spaces to reserve them for the disabled.
So naturally, we expect that space to be taken by people that they were provided for.
It only takes a small percentage of people that have neither respect for you, the person that drove past a disabled parking space before them, or a disabled person who will arrive after them to find the space taken illegally, that makes a complete joke of the whole principle of disabled parking.
I don’t give a dam.
The most obvious and the most annoying is the motorist that doesn’t give a dam and knows exactly what they’re doing and play a game of Russian roulette with everyone.
They are the ones that breeze in and don’t want to be apart of any efforts to preserve the parking space. It’s there – so they just take it and to hell with it.
Its hard to believe but as far as illegally parking in disabled parking spaces, these are the most honest of lawbreakers. The space was there and they just went for it.
The slightly more complicated disabled parking thief has a different approach.
They do so many good things for other people in public view, they expect you to understand why they haven’t the time to look for a parking space like you did.
They will deflect their parking crime onto everyone else and they are that good at it, in their own mind of entitlement anyway, they might even end up making you feel sorry for them – all while they take up a parking space that wasn’t left for them.
They gently ease their car into the blue parking spot, maybe not taking it up completely, not totally unlike the way some people tip-toe up the middle aisle of the chapel floor after the mass had started and shoehorn their way into the front seat.
It’s as if parking laws are only for normal people.
Top, top disable parking offenders are the true professionals in the game. They even have their own camouflage.
For the ordinary motorist, they couldn’t tell the difference between a parking offender and from one entitled to park in a disabled parking space.
Unfortunately, this was the highest offence until local authorities, the people that issue disabled parking permits, and those who enforce the law teamed up to address the problem.
In the new system, detecting illegal parking, which is still only being rolled out in the bigger cities in Ireland, checks can be run on the spot on parking permits.
However, the problem persist’s because the single biggest offender type for breaking the law in a disabled parking zone now are those who avail of a parking permit on the windscreen of their car – even when the person the permit was issued for is not being transported.
In the past, a permit on the windscreen of a car parked in a disabled parking space was enough to say you were entitled to park in a disabled parking space. And for some in the past, the carer or family member who assisted a person with a disability may have been confused with the power of the permit, which is only valid when the disabled person is being transported.
The people that pull into a disabled parking space and display the permit when the person is not onboard are surely the worst offenders of all?
After all, they know first hand what is involved in the assisting of the person with the disability better than anyone else.
They have no excuse when they pull into a blue disabled parking space, step out quickly and walk away before anyone can see them.
Every time they do that they are preventing someone like their husband, wife, mother, father, sister, brother, son, or daughter with a disability parking in the space provided for them.
You would think that it doesn’t get much worse than this but unfortunately, it does.
In this new drive to weed out the people that are availing of illegally parking in disabled spaces, offenders have even been caught using the permits that were issued to people that are not living anymore.
A car parked in a disabled parking space with a parking permit of a deceased person may sound unbelievable, but they are even being detected with dated permits that have been falsified – which would mean that the permit holders were dead for years.
Sure what’s the harm?
I can hear the odd person I know saying “Sure what’s the harm in someone nipping in on someone else’s permit to a handy space outside the front door they are going to, especially if there was no one there in the first place.
“Sure your just beating the system, avoid paying a parking ticket”, and all that.
And if they drive a car that displays a permit “Sure what about all the time they help their disabled family member in and out of the car, don’t they deserve some privileges?”.
Well, a disabled parking space in a premier position is not a privilege any more than an executive or a corporate box at a football stadium is.
A disabled parking space is only part of a necessity for a disabled driver or disabled person being transported.
It’s a space for sharing with others in the same situation as them and that only works when people without disabilities respect that blue square and leave it free.
Illegal disabled parking crime has not increased, its just being detected better now, and judging by the detection of people that are posing as disabled parking permit holders, are they the ones that are most likely to confront everyone else as they hide behind a permit that they may want to use for their own benefit?
Happy motoring folks!Tags: