“Name and shame fake disabled bay parkers”

“Name and shame fake disabled bay parkers”

Public wants crackdown on drivers who misuse disabled and baby parking bays

A huge majority of drivers want to see people who misuse disabled and baby parking bays in car parks and shopping streets to be named and shamed in public.

Others say that banning anti-social parkers from shops would be another way of preventing them for blocking spaces for drivers with special needs, a Yorkshire-based car leasing company has found.

However, there may be some reluctance on the part of both store operators and local authorities due to the potential of bad publicity if somebody is wrongly accused, the Flexed.co.uk car lease company says.

“Even the most mild-mannered shopper’s blood boils at the sight of somebody parking in a disabled bay who marches off like there’s nothing wrong with them,” says Flexed.co.uk spokesperson Mark Hall, “and it’s important that genuine offenders are somehow stopped from doing it again.”

Flexed.co.uk asked over 800 drivers about what would be a fitting way to deal with restricted bay offenders:

• 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

Typical of drivers questioned was Linda, 52: “I’ve got a blue badge because of mobility problems, and it drives me up the wall to see somebody parked in the disabled bays in town just so they can nip over to the cash machine. Where’s a traffic warden when you need one?”

Another disabled driver, Brian, 29, told Flexed: “I’ve taken pictures of cars parked illegally in disabled spaces, but I’m told they’re not admissible as evidence. Let’s name names and stop these idiots.”

New mum Bryony, 26 said: “There’s a reason why supermarkets have mum-and-baby bays by the doors – it’s so I don’t have to cross any roads with a baby and two toddlers in tow. They’re not there so you can run in for cigarettes and a box of doughnuts.”

One unrepentant driver who Flexed.co.uk saw parked in a mother-and-child space at a big-name supermarket said: “The car park’s rammed all except for these baby parking spaces – why should these lazy people get special treatment?”

Getting it right

While there’s clearly public appetite to shaming drivers who flout parking rules, there are practical difficulties in making it a reality, Flexed.co.uk’s Mark Hall says, most notably in making sure you’ve got the right person.

“Both councils and supermarkets will be reluctant to paste faces or number plates up in public because they don’t want bad publicity if somebody is accused by mistake. Some people don’t have obvious disabilities, and that is bound to lead to problems,” he says.

That’s an issue faced by Jenny, 60: “I’ve got respiratory problems which mean I can’t walk more than 50 yards without getting out of breath. So I can make it from my car to the mobility scooters, but that’s just far enough more me to get an ear-bashing from some self-appointed parking warden who thinks I’m faking it.

“I’m registered disabled, but I just don’t look it. It’s very distressing, but I won’t shop online, otherwise I’d be housebound. Do you want me to chop a leg off or something so I look the part? ” she told Flexed.co.uk.

“That’s the sort of thing that shops would be keen to avoid,” says Flexed.co.uk ‘s Mark Hall, “They would have to be very careful and possibly appoint people specially to watch over parking bay use. I’d imagine that most retailers will decide it’s not worth the bother.”

However, in town centres, it’s a different story, where traffic wardens and PCSOs should be on the alert for special parking bay offenders.

“With the backing of the law and local traffic enforcement, there ought to be zero tolerance for abled people using disabled bays, even if it’s just for a few seconds to go to a cash machine or drop somebody off,” says Hall.

“Once the fine is paid, why not put snapshots of the offending number plates in the local press? I’m sure it would be a popular feature.”

Essentially, drivers should be made aware that their cheating the disabled and families out of their rightful parking spaces is as anti-social as smoking or drinking in public, Flexed says.

“Those spaces are there for a reason, says Hall, “Show a bit of respect.”